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LAYS    AND    LEGENDS 
o  0F         mi, 

THOMOND. 

WITH   HISTORICAL    AND   TRADITIONAL  NOTES. 

Br 

MICHAEL    HOGAN, 

"BARD  OF  THOMOND." 


',  %t\t&>  nnbr  dtompkle  (Biition.      ^ 


DUBLIN: 
M.  H.  GILL  AND  SON,  50  UPPER  SACKVILLE-ST. 

./   •'  .-.-.  1880.  '    *  ":-<         ;  • 

'■'--       '    \  A- 

*"  ■  [All  rights  reserved.]  -/T^/-^ 


Ok 
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Hi:..; 


PRINTED  BY  M.  H.   GILL  AND  RON,  50  UPPER  SACKVILLE-ST.  DUBLIN. 


3  o  ■■}'  ■  /, /  > 


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IS 

RESPECTFULLY  DEDICATED  BY  THE  AUTHOR, 

TO  THE  MOST  NOBLE 

(8>KXBlintf  ^MtYianm  at  ($MtMbttt%t 

IN  GRATITUDE  FOR  HER  LARGE-HEARTED 
AND    PRACTICAL    SYMPATHY   WITH 

Ireland's 
national  cause. 


INTRODUCTION. 


In  submitting  this  new  edition  of  native  Songs, 
Ballads,  and  Legends  to  the  public,  I  merely  wish 
to  introduce  them  as  the  offspring  of  national  poetic 
ardour. 

In  the  succeeding  pages  the  reader  will  find  many 
war-poems  on  the  chivalrous  valour  of  the  noble  Gael, 
in  the  grand  and  proud  old  days  of  Eoyal  Eire,  when 
the  bard  was  the  companion  of  the  King,  and  gold 
was  less  prized  than  song.  I  have  also  varied  the 
volume  with  some  romantic  Legends,  founded  on  the 
Fairy  superstitions  which  our  noble  peasantry  so 
dearly  love,  and  which  have  never  failed  to  lend  an 
airy  charm  to  Irish  poetry.  These  Fairy  pieces  have 
some  slight  traditional  ground- work,  but  the  super- 
structure belongs  to  the  ideal  region  of  Fancy,  in 
which  I  have  dreamt  and  revelled  whilst  alone  on 
the  bright  green  banks  of  the  kingly  Shannon,  when 
summer  sunset  was  stealing  away  from  the  sleeping 
flowers,  and  the  dewy  curtain  of  night  lay  on  the 
silent  meadows. 

Though  a  new  book  of  Irish  poetry,  like  all  native 
manufacture,  may  deserve  patronage  and  support,  yet 
it  too  often  receives  neither,  and  therefore  our  fine 
literature  has  almost  become  extinct,  like  our  noble  * 
language. 
Many  of  the  learned  tribunals  of  my  native  land 


INTRODUCTION. 


have  awarded  the  palm  of  merit  to  the  produce  of 
my  Parnassian  farm ;  and.though  I  have  had  a  late 
and  bad  harvest,  yet  I  fear  I  shall  be  early  enough 
for  a  worse  market. 

Twelve  years  ago  I  made  my  first  advance  in  the 
market  of  letters,  and  was  remorselessly  fleeced  by  a 
Printer's  devil,  who  stormed  my  air-castles,  broke 
through  the  entrenchments  of  Mount  Helicon,  sacri- 
legiously seized  on  the  chattels  of  the  sacred  Nine, 
and  drove  me  from  the  ramparts  without  the  honours 
of  war.  I  was  not  much  disspirited  at  such  an  unex- 
pected repulse,  for  poetry  lost  nothing  of  its  enjoy- 
ment, and  the  Muse  waved  a  bolder  wing  than  ever, 
and  now  I  again  enter  the  poetical  arena  to  fight  for 
fresh  laurel  boughs.  I  know  my  rhyming  tilts  will 
not  please  everyone — some  may  condemn  and  some 
may  applaud,  but  every  honest  lover  of  poor  old  Ire- 
land will  believe  that  I  meant  well  for  her  sake. 

To  the  lovers  of  Ireland's  splendid  traditions  and 
olden  glories,  I  present  this  volume  of  "  Lays  and 
Legends.''  They  are  not  clothed  with  classic  mantles, 
neither  do  they  shine  with  the  gaudy  tinsel  of  Art.  I 
offer  them  as  the  simple  creations  of  a  natural  poetic 
imagination  ;  the  outpourings  of  a  heart  glowing 
with  love  for  the  noble  sons  and  daughters  of  the 
Emerald  Isle.  My  proudest  and  best  reward  shall  be 
a  place  in  my  country's  memory,  when  the  Redeemer 
will  call  her  from  the  tomb  of  alien  bondage. 

The  first  edition  of  these  Poems,  which  appeared  in 
1867,  would  have  been  a  great  success  were  it  not  for 
the  shameless  and  faithless  conduct  of  the  publisher, 
who  promised  to  have  the  book  ready  in  three  months, 
but  it  was  two  years  before  I  could  get  it  out  of  his 


INTRODUCTION.  Vll 

hands,  and  then  only  in  unbound  sheets.  Conse- 
quently, the  public  grew  tired  of  waiting,  and  the 
subscribers  angry  and  disgusted. 

Some  time  previous  I  made  another  venture  in 
Dublin,  and  fared  worse,  for  although  I  have  the 
publisher's  memoranda  for  7,000  copies  printed  and 
published,  yet  I  never  received  anything  more  sub- 
stantial than  the  memoranda.  If  this  is  not  profitable 
business  with  a  vengeance,  I  challenge  all  the  enter- 
prise on  earth  for  success.  I  often  think  that  I  was 
born  to  live  on  cobwebs  and  rainbows,  and  to  have  ac- 
counts nowhere  only  in  Jack  Delay's  Bank,  where  I 
never  get  principal  or  interest ;  but  there's  good  times 
coming,  as  the  sailor  said  when  he  was  drowning, 
"  I  might  catch  a  spar  of  the  wreck  yet." 

Thomond. 


CONTENTS 


LEGENDARY  POEMS  AND  ROMANCES. 

, , .  PAGE 

The  Fairy  Maid  of  Garna,  (O'Cearneigh) -.,*.,  ,..      62 

Mary  of  the  Mountain;  or,  Patt  O'Leary  and  the  Golden, Castle  of 

Cullane  Lake.    Parts  I., 'II.,  III.,  IV.          _               ...  ...       9 

The  Fairy  Bridal.    A  Legend  of  Killeely  .         ...               ."..  ...      24 

King  Donald's  Daughter.    A  Legend  of  the  Shannon         ...  ...      45 

Drunken  Thady.    A  Legend  of  Limerick             ...               ...  ...      74 

Oebhinn,  the  Banshee,  and  the  Great  Earl  of  Thomqnd     ,..,  ...    103 

The  Spirit  of  Morogh,  Son  of  Brian    ...              ....     -    ...  - .....  ...   f108 

The  Bride  of  Clancuilen.   A  Fairy  Romance  of  Canjigoeunnell.   Cantos. 

I.,  II.,  Ill,  IV.          ...              ...             ..,.*      i,..-.;.  ...,139 

King  Mahon  and  Oebhinn,  the  Banshee.    A  Legend  of  Craiglea  ...    207 

The  Living  Skeleton.    A  Vision  of  the  Famine  Year,  1847  ...    215 

The  Rose  of  the  Glen.    A  Legend  of  Cratloe       ...              ...  ...    221 

Garadh  Earla  and  the  two  Coopers.    A  Legend  of  Loch  Gur  ...    245 

The  Fairy  Hurling  Match.    A  Legend  of  Mungret               ...  ...    266 

The  Doom  of  Brian  Roe.    A  Legend  of  Bunratty                ...  ...    282 

The  Warrior-Exiles.    A  Legend  of  the  Clan  Maclnnerney...  ...    289 

The  Spectre  Bride.    A  Legend  of  Kinkora           ...              ...  ...    302 

The  Pirate  of  Dunlica.    A  Legend  of  Corcovaskin               ...  ...    310 

The  Fate  of  Mahon  and  Eileen.    A  Legend  of  the  O'Cearneigh  ...    316 
The  Fatal  Ensign.    A  Legend  of  the  Battle  of  Clontarf.    Parts  I.,  II, 

III               ...              ...               ...              ...              ...  ...    328 

The  Water  Spirit.    A  Legend  of  Castle  Connell...              ...  ...    333 

Eithne's  Vision  as  Queen  of  Tara       ...              ...              ...  ...    335 

The  Murdered  Prince.    A  Legend  of  the  House  of  Thomond  ...    337 

Torlogh  and  Mary.    A  Legend  of  Quin  Abbey  ...               ...  ...    344 

The  Bride  of  the  Suir.    A  Fairy  Legend  of , Cahir              ...  ...    358 

The  Last  of  the  Royal  O'Briens  ...                      ...               ...  ...    389 

The  Silver  Bells.    A  Legend  ef  St.  Mary's  Cathedral        ...  ...   |30 

WAR-POEMS  AND  CHIVALROUS  ROMANCES. 

The  Death  of  Morogh,  at  Clontarf     ...              ...               .  m  .i.     U 

The  Battle  of  Limerick.    Achievements  of  the  Women       .,'.  ...     52 

The  Sarsfield  Testimonial  ...              ...              ...              ...  ...     55 

O'Neill's  War-song             ...              ...               ...              ...  ...  .  56 

The  Battle  of  the  Yellow  Ford  (Beal*m-atha'buidh)          ...  ...     5B 

O'Neill's  Gathering             ...              ...              ...              ,u  ...    ..$3 

The  Battle  of  Clontibret    ...             ...              ...              .*•>■'  ...  t   » 

Cathol  Mac  Carrach           ...              ...              ...              ..«''  ...  -118 

The  Battle  of  Moinmor      «..              ...             it.   ■          ...-' -^  ...     ffi 


Morogh,  the  Burner,        ...                   .„  ...  ...  ...  120 

The  Battle  of  Fredericksburgh ...  ...  ...  124 

The  Fate  of  De  Quincy       ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  127 

The  Battle  of  Fanconrad    ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  128 

Bardic  Meditations              ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  131 

The  Battle  of  the  Corsliabh  (Curlew)  Mountains  ...  ...  133 

The  Fairy  Battle  of  Knoc  Feirin         ...  ...  ...  ...  100 

John  Mitchell  in  Exile        ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  160 

The  Death  of  King  Crimthan               ...  ...  ...  ...172 

The  Battle  of  Croom            ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  17± 

The  Heroine  of  the  Breach  of  Limerick  ...  ...  ...  170 

The  City  of  the  Kings  (Cashol)            ...  ...  ...  ...  190 

Death  Song  of  the  Bards  of  Tyrone  and  Tyrconnell  ...  ...  194 

The  Battle" of  Sulchoid        ...                ..=  ...  ...  ...  209 

The  Battle  of  Corcomroe     ...                ...  ...  •••  ...  228 

The  "War-song  of  Clan  Cuilcn              ...  ...  ...  ,..  230 

Fireball  MacNamara's  Address  to  his  Pistols  ...  ...  ...  257 

The  Bards  of  Ancient  Erin                   ...  ...  ...  ...  270 

The  Battle  of  Monabraher...                 ...  ...  ...  ...  271 

Sarsfield's  Farewell  to  Limerick          ...  ...  ...  ...  2S8 

The  Death  of  King  Brian    ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  293 

The  Destruction  of  Kinkora                 ...  ...  ...  ..  307 

The  Battle  of  Tor  Conainn  ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  322 

The  Battle  of  Thurles          ...        -       ...  ...  ...             i  ...  353 

The  Battle  of  Magressin,  and  the  Murder  of  Brian  Roe,  at  Bunratty...  301 

The  Chief s  of  Lamh  Laidir                   ...  ...  ...  ...  307 

The  Battle  of  Kilbarron     ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  401 

The  Battle  of  Bunratty       ...                ...  ...  ...  ...  379 

The  Battle  of  Dysert,  and  the  total  destruction  of  the  De  Clares  ...  441 

The  Battle  of  Cadmus         ...               ...  ...  ...  ...  417 


POEM-PICTURES  AND  SONGS  OF  THE  AFFECTIONS. 

The  Angel's  Visit                ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  22 

The  Shades  of  Monabraher  ..  ...  ...  ...  ...  30 

Come  to  the  Mountains      ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  39 

Shannon's  Spangled  Banks  and  Bowers  ...  ...  ...  38 

Gentle  Nannie    ...               ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  01 

The  Fenian  Bride                 ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  07 

Come,.  Gentle  Spring           ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  80 

The  Dark -haired  Boy         ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  89 

The  Woods  and  Waterfalls  of  Doonass  ...  ...  ...  91 

Rosroe  and  its  Traditions  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  105 

Maggie  Bhan     ...               ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  97 

The  Evicted  Peasant          ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  98 

Irish  Beauty  and  Eastern  Peris  ...  ...  ...  ...  28 

Young  Ellen  of  the  Grove...  ...  ...  ...  ...  29 

The  Peasant's  Bridal          ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  32 

Brown-haired  Jane             ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  33 

The  Flower  of  Limerick     ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  44 

Mary  of  Loch  Rea               ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  50 

Song. of  the  Irish  Emigrants  ...  ...  ...  ...  72 

Maryanne's  Charms           ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  73 

The  Nameless  Patriot        ...  ....  ..  ...  ...  116 

Lovely  Maryanne                ...  ' ...  ...  ...  ...  112 

Love. and  Nationality         ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  117 

Mac  Gennis's  Daughter      ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  136 

R.  D.  Joyce's  Poems           ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  168 

The  Woodman's  Daughter  ...  '..'.  ...  ...  109 

The  Bard  of' the. Barrow    ...  ...  '.'.'.  ...  ...  185 

tfoung  Love   #  ...               ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  185 


The  Beauties  of  Quinsburgh 

The  Hills  of  Bally  car 

Drahareen  O'Machree 

Address  to  the  Shannon 

Kathleen 

Soul -aspirations 

Eileen's  Dream 

The  Banks  of  Avoncloun    ... 

The  Fawn  of  Ardcregan 

The  Banks  of  Blackwatcr  ... 

The  Cottage  Maid  ... 

The  Emigrant's  Story 

The  Princess  Finola 

Night  Thoughts 

Paddy  MacCarthy's  address  to  his  Sweetheart  ... 

The  Hose  of  Ardcregan 

]\lo  Bochaillin  Doun 

Captain  Brennan,  the  Outlaw  of  the  Hill 

The  Irish  Maiden  to  her  Lover,  Sea  an  Bhan  Oge 

Eileen  Oge  Machrce 

The  Beauties  of  Plassy,  and  Romance  of  Castle  Troy 

The  Dark  Summer  of '79    ... 

The  Patriot  Maiden 

Tipperary,  my  home 

The  Peri  of  Parteen 

The  Maiden's  Dream 

A  Visit  to  Cork,... 

A  Midsummer  Evening 

A  Summer  Love  Dream    ... 

Youth's  Green  Spring 

The  Mountains... 

Address  to  Aubrey  de  Yere 

The  Peasant  to  his  Emigrant  Daughter 

The  Outcast 

Mary  O'Neill's  Elopement... 

The  Bard's  Protest 

The  Swan  of  the  Ayr 

Tne  Exile's  Return 

The  Beauties  of  Dromoland 

Young  Annie     ... 

The  Uutterily    ... 

Mannix  the  Coiner 

The  Bard  and  the  Shannon 

The  Bard's  Earewell  to  the  Shannon ... 


186 

189 

31 

413 

192 
193 

205 
214 
231 
233 
23G 
238 
243 
248 
255 
256 
259 
200 
201 
202 
264 
270 
280 
287 
299 
298 
300 
371 
370 
373 
375 
138 
393 
396 
398 
406 
123 
,  410 
.  423 
426 
.  427 
.  434 
.     435 


REQUIEMS  AND  WREATHS  EOR  THE  DEAD. 

King  Brian's  Lament  for  King  Mahon 

Requiem  for  King  Mahom    A  Bardic  Dirge       ...  ...  ... 

The  Death  of  Donovan,  Son  of  Cahal,  Slain  in  Single  Combat  by  Mo- 

rogh,  Son  of  Brian.    A  Bardic  Dirge 
Requiem  for  John  Mitchell 
A  Mother's  Lament  for  her  Insane  Daughter 
The  Widow's  Lament 
To  the  Memory  of  "  Una  !" 
The  Grave  of  Seaan  BweeMacNamara 
A  Dirge  f  or  the  Dalcassians 
Death-song  of  Evcleen  MacNamara  ... 
Lament  for  Edward  Walsh 
To  the  Memory  of  an  English  Friend 
To  the  Lily  of  Sunville      ... 
The  Miser's  Grave 


49 

84 

84 

87 

98 
118 
121 
154  . 
182, 
183 

.\n 

#5 


PAOB 

A  Mother  at  the  Grave  of  her  only  Son               ...  ...  ...  232 

To  the  Memory  of  Caroline  Mary  Nixon            ...  ...  ...  277 

Lament  for  the  Venerable  Archdeacon  Goold    ...  ...  ...  278 

The  anniversary  of  his  death              ...              ...  ...  ...  280 

Lament  of  the  Shannon     ...              ...              ...  ...  ...  291 

Requiem  for  Torlogh  O'Brien,  King  of  Thomond  ...  ...  234 

The  Father's  Lament  for  his  Children  ...           ...  ...  ...  394 

The  Wail  of  Erin  for  "William  S.  O'Brien           ...  ...  ...  164 

Lament  for  Thomas  Francis  Meagher                ...  ...  ...  414 

The  Clan's  Dirge  around  the  Bier  of  Tiege  O'Brien  ...  ...  413 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND 


MARY  OF  THE  MOUNTAIN;  OR,  PATT  O'LEARY, 
AND  THE  GOLDEN  CASTLE. 

A  LEGEND  OF  CULLANE   LAKE*   (CLARE). 


High  sung  the  lark — soft  blew  the  gale, 

Slow  waved  the  birch  wood's  vernal  shadows ; 
The  honey  dew  lay  on  the  vale, 

The  bee  humm'd  o'er  the  golden  meadows  ; 
Bright  ran  the  stream,  light  danced  the  beam 

Of  morning  on  its  purling  splendour  ; 
From  hill  and  mound,  gay  nature  pour'd 

Her  song  of  beauty  sweet  and  tender. 

Within  the  green  heart  of  a  wood, 

Where  gush'd  a  wildly-singing  fountain, 
Amid  the  flowery  solitude 

Lived  dark-hair'd  Mary  of  the  Mountain  ! 
And  summer's  leaves  or  winter's  snows, 

With  sunny  smiles  had  ever  found  her ; 
For  Mary's  heart  was  like  the  rose 

That  fill'd  the  woods  with  odour  round  her. 
Love  pencill'd  beauty  on  her  mien, 

Her  foot  had  all  the  spring-wind's  fleetaeM£ 
And  Carrigcleena's  serial  Queen 

Hath  not  such  smiles  of  modest  sweetness  ! 


*  There  are  many  curious  stories  related  by  the  local  peasantry  about 
this  wild  and  romantic  Lake.    As  for  myself,  I  was  nearly  deprived  of  th« 
luxury  of  telling  anything  about  it,  as  I  narrowly  escaped  being  drowned  v 
there  one  fine  morning  while  on  a  fishing  excursion.    Its  depth  is  very 
immense.  -  $*■* 

2 


10  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

She  look'd,  as  if  the  Fairy  powers 
Had  lent  her  eyes  their  thrilling  charm  ; 

She  blush'd,  as  if  the  young  May  flowers 
Were  glowing  in  her  face  and  form. 

.  But  why,  this  morn,  has  Mary's  face 
Lost  all  its  rose-bright  smiles  of  grace  ? 
Why  droops  she  paler  than  the  lily, 
When  biting  north-winds  chill  the  valley  ? 
She  sits  upon  a  heathery  mound, 
Beside  the  streamlet's  dreamy  sound  ; 
And  like  the  gentle  stars  that  keep 
Their  dewy  watch  o'er  Nature's  sleep, 
Her  large,  blue,  pensive  eyes  express'd 
The  tearful  anguish  of  her  breast. 

For  pwo  long  years,  from  day  to  day, 

A  Saxon  Captain  courted  Mary  ; 
Bijt  her  young  heart  was  given  away, 

With  all  its  truth,  to  Patt  O'Leary. 
And  Patt  was  Nature's  Irish  child, 

With  heart  and  spirit  warm  and  grateful ; 
In  sport  the  wildest  of  the  wild, 

In  love  and  friendship,  fond  and  faithful. 
His  step  was  proud — his  form  was  high, — 

His  brow  with  manhood's  glory  bright'ning, 
And  from  his  wild,  impassion'd  eye, 

Youth,  fire,  and  vigour  flung  their  lightning. 
When  Clare's  swift  hurlers  swept  the  ball 

Along  the  meadows,  green  and  airy, 
Your  eye  could  mark,  above  them  all, 

The  comely  port  of  Patt  O'Leary. 
Impetuous,  'mid  the  rushing  throng, 

His  blows,  with  sweeping  might,  resounded, 
As  from  his  hurley,  tough  and  strong, 

The  ball,  with  hissing  swiftness,  bounded  ! 
When,  to  the  bagpipes'  merry  sound, 

He  danced  the  reel  with  Mountain  Mary, 
The  peasant-girls  all  sigh'd  around, 

And  flung  their  hearts  at  Patt  O'Leary. 

He  thrash'd  Red  Cormac,  from  the  glen ; 

He  beat  Con  Clanchy  in  a  wrestle, 
And,  for  a  wager  of"  Potheen, 

He  flung  a  sledge  o'er  Moneen  Castle  ! 
Down,  in  the  ravine's  bed  of  stone, 

He  pitched  a  Gauger,  from  the  hill, 
And  broke  the  hero's  collar-bone, 

For  seizing  on  Bill  Daly's  still  ; 
And  when  Lord  Saxon's  agent  came 

To  Jis^pssess  his  cousin,  Sally, 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  11 

Patt  left  a  landmark  on  his  frame, 

As  he  descended  to  the  valley. 
In  vain  the  Vultures  of  the  Law- 
Pursued  his  steps  thro'  glen  and  meadow  ; 
Soon  as  their  scarlet  coats  he  saw, 

He  vanish'd  like  a  fairy  shadow. 
And  often,  in  his  spirit's  play, 

He  lured  them  to  the  mountains,  dreary ; 
And  there,  'mid  briers  and  rocks,  all  day, 

They  chased  and  curst  wild  Patt  O'Leary. 
At  times  he  melted  from  their  view  ; 

Then,  sudden,  reappear'd  before  them  ; 
And  then,  again,  with  wild  halloo, 

Danced  proudly  on  the  tall  rocks,  o'er  them  ! 
With  straining  arm,  and  sweating  brow, 

They  climbed  the  cliffs  brown  forehead,  airy ; 
Then  from  the  glen's  deep  bed  below, 

Look'd  up,  and  shouted,  Patt  O'Leary  ! 
Thus  fared  the  chase,  'till  closed  the  day, 

And  Heaven's  high  star  lamps  all  were  lighted, 
Then  homeward  Patt  pursued  his  way, 

And  left  them  in  the  glens,  benighted  ! 

The  loveliest  maids  of  Emerald  Clare 

Put  on  their  sunniest  smiles  to  win  him ; 
Where'er  he  moved,  at  dance  or  fair, 

A  host  of  beaming  eyes  were  on  him  ; 
But,  with  affection's  golden  chain, 

His  heart  was  link'd  to  Mountain  Mary, 
And  she  paid  back  his  love  again, 

And  wildly  worshipp'd  Patt  O'Leary  ! 
But  Mary's  father  liked  him  not ; 

He  said  some  gloomy  fate  was  o'er  him ; 
And  when  he  sought  her  mountain  cot, 

She  mark'd  j^er  sire  grow  dark  before  him. 
Yet,  when  the  Captain  came  the  way, 

How  courteous  was  the  old  man's  greeting  ; 
A  cloud  lay  on  her  heart  all  day  ; 

She  wept  and  trembled  at  their  meeting. 

This  morn  he  sought  their  mountain  home, 

With  harness  d  steeds  and  glittering  carriage ; 
And  Mary's  brow  was  wrapt  in  gloom, 

When  he  declared  the  day  of  marriage. 
Wild,  frenzied,  from  the  cot  she  flew, 

While  gushing  tears,  in  hot  showers,  dxpwn'd  her  ! 
Her  hair,  on  every  wind  that  blew, 

Stream'd,  like  a  midnight  cloud,  around  her  ! 
Jb'ar,  in  the  forest's  dark  green  vest, 

She  vanish'd  like  a  thing  of  brightness  !      0" 


12  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  dewy,  spangled  grass,  scarce  prest, 
Danced  playful  in  her  track  of  lightness, 

'Till  fainting,  from  her  tiresome  flight, 
She  sunk  beside  the  amber  fountain ; 

There,  lonely,  as  a  bird  of  night, 

Wept  dark-hair'd  Mary  of  the  Mountain. 


The  red-wing'd  clouds  of  Summer  eve 

Slept  on  the  sun's  departing  brightness, 
And  flung  upon  the  Lake's  pale  wave 

Their  dreamy  shades  of  aerial  whiteness  ! 
In  pearly  wreaths  the  dew-mists  rose 

On  shadowy  hill  and  vernal  plain, 
White  as  if  Winter's  vanish'd  snows 

Appear'd  on  Summer's  robe  of  green  ! 
The  lark,  with  weary  wings,  descended 

To  nestle  in  the  shamrock-sod  ; 
His  sweet  day-hymn  of  praise  is  ended 

In  the  blue  hall  of  Nature's  God  ! 
The  dim,  white  stars  peep'd  out  above, 

In  growing  beauty,  one  by  one, 
Winking  their  radiant  eyes  of  love, 

With  joy,  behind  the  dying  sun  ! 
The  woods,  round  Cullane's  fairy  shore, 

In  their  own  shadows  seem'd  reposing ; 
On  Nature's  bosom  every  flower 

Its  eye,  in  dewy  dreams,  was  closing  ; 
All  lay  in  sleepy  loveliness  ; 

No  zephyr  to  the  leaves  was  speaking, 
As  if  the  Night,  in  holiest  dress, 

An  audience  of  her  God  was  seeking  ! 

Upon  a  flowery  heather  mound, 

At  twilight's  close,  sat  Patt  O'Leary, 
His  manly  arm  encircling,  round, 

The  swan-like  neck  of  Mountain  Mary. 
With  pouting  lip  she  told  her  tale, 

And  Patt  vowed  vengeance  on  the  stranger  ; 
And  Mary  strove,  without  avail, 

To  turn  him  from  the  deed  of  danger. 
"Mary  !"  he  said,  "there's  yet  a  hope, 

"  That  wings  my  spirit  with  emotion  ; 
"  If  you  be  true,  let  us  elope 

"  Together  o'er  the  Western  Ocean. 
"Ill  drive  the  cow  to  Tulla  fair, — 

"Go  cheap  or  dear,  I  care  not  whether ; — 
"  And  if  you  wish  to  meet  me  there, 

"We'll  quickly  take  the  road  together. 
"  If  you  refuse  me  to  proceed, 

"  You'll  be  the  bride  of  Captain  Frontry  ; — 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  13 

"  Bad  luck  to  all  his  foreign  breed, 

' '  They've  brought  misfortune  on  the  country. 

"  Say  will  you  wed  that  blood-stain'd  brute, 
"  Or  fly  from  him  with  Patt  O'Leary  ? 

*  *  Decide  at  once,  and  tell  the  truth, 

"Will  you  be  mine  ?  oh  !  faithful  Mary  !" 

Then  Mary  paused,  and  wept  awhile, 

Her  fears  in  one  tear-gush  were  vented  ; 
And,  with  a  mingling  blush  and  smile, 

Gazed  on  her  lover,  and — consented  ! 
With  mutual  vows  and  mix'd  delight, 

Chasten'd  and  purified  by  sorrow, 
They  fondly  parted  for  the  night, 

To  meet  more  happy  on  the  morrow. 

Patt  drove  the  cow,  at  twelve  o'clock, 

To  meet  the  fair  by  morning  early  ; 
Wrapt  in  his  shapely  home-made  frock, 

He  trudged  behind  her,  whistling  cheer'ly. 
Thro'  wild  Cullane's  embowering  shades — 

Beneath  the  silver  starlight,  sleeping, 
He  pass'd — the  trees,  with  silent  heads, 

Upon  his  darken'd  path  hung  weeping. 
He  turn'd  to  see  the  Lake's  blue  plain, 

With  all  its  emerald  glories  round  it ; 
But  there  appear'd  a  grand  demesne, 

By  towering  elms  and  poplars  bounded. 
Majestic,  in  the  star-gemm'd  sky, 

The  ash  and  pine  their  green  crowns  blended, 
And  from  the  mantling  bushes  nigh, 

The  nightingale's  wild  song  ascended  ! 
The  breathings  of  the  moorland  thyme 

Stole  on  his  senses,  sweet  as  honey ; 
All  look'd  so  radiant  and  sublime, 

He  thought  the  face  of  night  grew  sunny. 
The  silvery  tone  of  streams  he  heard 

Resounding  in  the  arbours,  splendid, 
And  when  a  breath  the  tree-tops  stirr'd, 

A  shower  of  honey^drops  descended. 
He  look'd  at  every  stately  tree, 

He  peep'd  thro'  every  shaded  alley  ; 
And  far  around,  as  eye  could  see, 

The  place  seem'd  one  enchanted  valley ! 

He  check'd  poor  careless  drimin's  speed, 

And  promised  her  a  hearty  flaking, 
Because  she  did  not  stop  to  heed 

The  observations  he  was  making  ! 
Enraged,  he  aim'd  and  flung  his  stick, 

It  new — with  whizzing  force  resounding — 


14  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  struck  her  heels — she  gave  a  kick, 

And  thro'  the  tangled  fence  went  bounding  ! 
"  Oh  !  holy  Saints  !"  in  mad  despair, 

He  mutter'd,  as  the  beast  deserted  ; 
"  Sure,  if  the  owner  finds  her  there, 

"  'Tis  to  the  Pound  she'll  be  transported  !" 
With  one  quick,  active,  manly  bound, 

He  clear'd  the  thorny  hedge  behind  her, 
And  swiftly  ran,  and  searched  around 

The  spacious  grassy  lawn,  to  find  her. 
But  as  he  stray'd  the  glades  among, 

New  scenes  of  startling  wonder  found  him ; 
And  heavenly  sights  and  sounds  of  song, 

As  born  of  magic,  rose  around  him. 
His  way  was  lost — his  cow  was  gone — 

A  strange  sky  seem'd  to  glitter  o'er  him  ; 
Where'er  he  turn'd,  or  wander'd  on, 

A  splendid  desert  spread  before  him. 
He  paused — and  to  retrace  his  track 

Commenced,  then  stood  again  astounded  ; 
For  as  he  sought  the  pathway  back, 

He  went  astray,  yet  more  confounded. 
He  leant  against  a  giant  tree, 

And  gazed  around,  confused  and  weary ; 
Oh  !  bitter  was  his  agony, 

To  think  of  disappointing  Mary  ! 
Again  he  tried  to  wander  back, 

And  lo  !  among  the  sylvans,  gliding, 
He  saw  a  horseman,  dress'd  in  black, 

At  headlong  speed,  against  him  riding  ! 
"  Oh  !  Virgin  !  am  I  dreaming  now?" 

He  murmur'd,  staring  at  the  stranger  ; 
"My  curse  upon  that  thieving  cow 

* '  That  led  me  to  this  place  of  danger  !" 
But  as  he  wail'd  his  luckless  lot, 

And  all  his  sad  mishaps  recounted  ; 
The  horseman  gallop'd  to  the  spot, 

And  from  his  mighty  steed  dismounted. 
The  horse  ran  free — Patt  kept  his  ground, 

As  if  chain'd  down  by  spell  of  Fairy ; 
The  rider,  courteous,  turn'd  around, 

And  said — "Good-morrow,  Patt  O'Leary  !" 

"Good-morrow  kindly,  sir  !"  said  Patt, 

Who  felt  new  courage  kindling  o'er  him  ; 
And  pulling  off  his  tight  straw  hat, 

Made  a  respectful  bow  before  him. 
"Who  owns  this  place,  sir  ?"  Patt  went  on, 

"  I  did  not  think  the  whole  creation — 
"Earth,  Ocean,  Heaven,  Stars,  Moon,  or  Sun,- 

"  Could  show  me  such  a  fine  plantation. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  15 

"I've  seen  resplendent  Eden  Vale, — * 

"  Of  Thomond-vales  the  loveliest  one  ; — 
"I've  seen  Adare  and  Innisfail,f 

"Ballingar  and  Cahircon  ! 
"  Yet  all  their  charms  in  one  united, 

"  Were  but  a  desert  waste  to  this  ; 
"  Never  was  human  eye  delighted 

"By  such  surpassing  loveliness  !" 
The  dark  man  answered,  with  a  nod, 

"  Friend,  there  is  truth  in  thy  opinion ; 
"No  mortal  foot,  save  thine,  e'er  trod 

"  The  splendid  soil  of  my  dominion  ! 
"  I  am  the  lord  of  all  you  see, 

"And  here  are  scenes  still  more  exquisite  ; 
"  I'll  show  thee  all — now  follow  me — 

"And  thou  shalt  ne'er  regret  thy  visit  !" 


Along  a  green  path,  side  by  side, 

Thro'  mazy  shades,  they  went  together, 
While  to  his  questions,  Patt  replied, 

'Bout  Ireland's  state, — the  crops  and  weather ; 
And  as  they  farther  on  advanced 

O'er  lawn  and  woodland's  rich  expansion, 
A  thousand  sparkling  glories  danced 

Around  them,  as  they  near'd  the  mansion. 
Patt  stopp'd— then  moved,  with  easy  stride, 

His  eye  in  wild  amazement  ranging ; 
And  as  he  gazed,  on  every  side, 

With  brighter  charms  the  scene  was  changing. 
At  last  the  splendid  fabric  shone 

Full  on  his  sight,  so  brightly  beaming ; 
It  seem'd  one  solid  diamond-stone, 

With  varied  hues  of  radiance  gleaming. 
Such  grandeur  and  magnificence 

Was  never  seen  by  eye  of  mortal ; 
Patt  almost  lost'  his  sight  and  sense 

Before  the  dome's  resplendent  portal  ! 
High  rose  to  Heaven  the  glittering  towers, 

Their  radiant  windows  all  seem'd  blazing 
Bright,  as  when  May  day's  bridal  flowers 

Upon  their  bridegroom  Sun  are  gazing. 
But  yet  the  wonder  greater  grew, 

For,  looking  towards  the  roof  that  crown'd  it 
He  saw,  'mid  wavy  shadows  blue, 

Unnumber'd  fishes  darting  round  it : 


*  Eden  Vale,  near  Ennis,  in  the  county  of  Clare.;  '„'■»•-• 
t  The  Island  of  Innisfallen,  in  the  Lake  of  Killarfcey.^ 


16  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And,  high  above  his  head,  a  boat 

(He  plainly  heard  the  oar-strokes  splashing), 
In  the  clear  star-light  seem'd  to  float 

Thro'  the  calm  night-sky  swiftly  dashing. 
He  saw  the  limpid  azure  riven 

At  every  dip  the  oars  were  taking ; 
And  the  whole  burning  plain  of  heaven 

In  rapid  fiery  rings  seem'd  breaking  ! 

On  the  vast  jewell'd  steps  that  led 

To  the  majestic  Hall  of  Wonder, 
Patt  stood  half -dazzled  and  half  dead, 

Venting  his  wild  surprise  in  blunder  : — 
"  O  Lord  !  where  am  I  ? — what's  this  here  ? — 

"  Or  am  I  'witch'd,  or  am  I  raving  ? 
"  I  wish  there  were  a  doctor  near 

"  To  tell  me  if  I'm  dead  or  living  !" 
The  dark  man  waved  him  to  the  door, — 

"Come  on  !  why  do  you  thus  refuse,  sir  ?" 
Said  Patt,  "Before  I  soil  the  floor  ; 

"  Allow  me  to  take  off  my  shoes,  sir  !" 
"  Come  on  !"  the  gloomy  stranger  roar'd, 

And  frowning  stamp'd  with  kindling  fury ; 
Patt  started  like  a  frighten'd  bird, 

And  enter'd  in  a  reckless  hurrjf. 
But  here  a  blinding  rush  of  light, — 

All  objects  in  its  splendour  bright 'ning — 
Flash'd  full  upon  his  wounded  sight, 

Like  one  fierce  burst  of  midnight  lightning. 
"  Am  I  in  Heaven  or  Hell  ?"  he  scream'd, 

With  both  his  hands  his  eye-balls  shading ; — 
"Come  on  !"  the  mystic  host  exclaim'd, 

"  And  tread  the  footsteps  of  my  leading  !" 
Patt  thro'  his  fingers  glanced  around, 

And  saw — with  dread  refulgence  lighting— 
The  Battle  of  Clontarf,  renown'd, 

And  all  the  Chieftains  fiercely  fighting  ! 
Here  royal  Brian  stood  to  view 

The  movements  of  the  action,  gory, 
And  there  the  regal  Sunburst  flew 

Above  the  field,  in  flaming  glory  ! 
He  heard  the  blows — a  thunderous  flood — 

He  saw  the  mighty  princes  dying ; 
And  thro'  the  crimson  haze  of  blood 

He  mark'd  a  sea  of  weapons  flying. 
He  saw  the  helmets  burst  like  glass, 

And  chasms  in  the  ranks  enlarging ; 
Where  Morogh  and  the  troops  of  Cas 

Upon  the  Danish  host  were  charging. 
His  bosom  kindled  at  the  fight, 

He  clapp'd  his  hands  in  mad  distraction  ; 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  17 

And,  burning  with  a  fierce  delight, 

He  made  a  rush  to  join  the  action  ; 
The  dark  man  laugh'd  and  held  him  tight, — 

"  Friend,  tho'  that  scene,  in  thy  conjecture, 
"  Seems  real  and  living  to  thy  sight, 

"  'Tis  but  a  false  and  airy  picture  !" 
He  said,  and  drew  him  farther  on, 

Where — towards  the  hall's  illumined  border — 
The  glorious  Siege  of  Limerick  shone, 

Towers,  walls,  and  hosts  in  martial  order. 
Loud  roar'd  the  red  besiegers'  guns  ; 

The  crashing  wall  is  rent  asunder, 
And  o'er  the  ruin  Limerick's  sons 

Opposed  the  flaming  metal  thunder  ! 
Here  Sarsfield — like  a  god  of  fire 

Amid  a  conflagration  striding — 
Thro'  wreck  and  flame,  and  havoc  dire, 

Upon  the  battle's  wave  seem'd  riding  ! 
The  women  cheer'd,  and  charg'd  the  foe, 

With  stones  and  crags,  and  broken  bottles ; 
While  guns  and  bayonets,  to  and  fro, 

Were  dash'd  about,  and  smas^'d,  like  wattles. 
He  saw  the  ramparts,  in  a  blaze^ 

All  waving  as  if  built  on  swivels  ; 
While  Brandenburghers,  in  amaze, 

Were  blown  away,  like  flaming  devils. 

Patt  could  contain  himself  no  more  : 

"Well  done  !  by  heavens  !"  he  fiercely  shouted  ; 
"  Ho  !  by  the  thundering  god  of  war  ! 

"The  cursed  foreign  thieves  are  routed  ! 
"Take  off  your  hold,  sir — let  me  go  ! 

"My  madden'd  brain  on  fire  is  swimming, 
"I'll  whack  a  hundred  of  the  foe  ! 

"For  God's  sake,  let  me  help  the  women  !" 
Again  the  dark  man  laugh'd  aloud — 

* '  Bold  youth — I  never  knew  a  bolder — 
"There's  other  sights  which,  if  I  show'd, 

"  Would  drive  to  madness  the  beholder  !" 

He  turn'd  from  the  martial  scene, 

And  walk'd  along  the  hall  of  brightness; 
With  walls  of  dazznng  golden  sheen, 

And  marble-floor  of  glittering  whiteness. 
On,  on  they  went  thro'  beaming  rooms, 

With  ceilings,  like  the  Spring  sky,  glowing, 
And  scented,  as  if  May's  perfumes 

Dropp'd  there  from  every  sweet  flower  blowing. 
They  reach'd  a  lofty  corridor, 

So  stately,  spacious  and  extended, 


18  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Patt  look'd  amazed  !  behind — before — 

But  could  not  reckon  where  it  ended. 
Here  at  one  side,  on  seats  of  gold, 

All  Thomond's  minstrel  band  was  shining, 
And  at  the  other — proud  and  bold — 

Her  Chiefs  and  Princes  sat  reclining. 
His  cleaving  battle-axe  and  spear, 

Stood  bright  beside  each  mighty  leader  ; 
A  Herald  cried,  "  there's  no  one  here, 

"  But  those  that  scourged  the  false  Invader  !" 
And  as  he  spoke,  a  dreadful  clang 

Of  swords  and  shields,  was  heard  to  rattle  ; 
The  Bards  all  struck  their  harps  and  sang 

The  soul-inspiring  "Eye  of  Battle  /" 
High  swell'd  the  ringing  martial  sound, 

A  thousand  tones  in  one  uniting ; 
The  Chiefs  inflamed,  grew  furious  round, 

And  shook  their  arms  in  act  of  fighting. 
Patt  felt  the  overpowering  spell 

Drown  all  his  senses  in  its  ocean  ; 
He  reel'd  around,  and  down  he  fell, 

And  fainted,  with  his  fierce  emotion  ! 


When  Patt  recover'd  from  his  swoon, 

Collecting  all  his  rambling  senses  ! 
Still  on  his  hearing  burst  the  tune, 

And  on  his  sight  the  dreadful  Princes. 
The  dark  man  smiled,  and  raised  him  up, 

Presenting  him  a  jewell'd  meader  ;* 
Patt  quickly  seized  the  glittering  cup, 

And  toasted  every  JDalcas  Leader. 
A  cheer,  from  all  the  regal  throng, 

Burst,  like  the  wind  in  winter  dreary, 
And  rung  the  shining  halls  along, 

With  "  Bravo  !  Bravo  !  Patt  O'Leary  !" 
The  dark  man  whisper'd  in  his  ear, 

"  Brave  youth,  as  you're  inclined  to  marry, 
'  There's  idle  gold  in  cart-loads  here, 

"  Now  take  as  much  as  you  can  carry  !" 

Patf  look'd  around  him,  with  a  smile, 
And  saw  an  open  room  revealing 

The  precious  metal,  pile  on  pile, 
Bright  rising  to  the  painted  ceiling. 

With  one  quick,  wild,  electric  leap 

He  bounded  towards  the  treasure  glowing, 

*  Ancient  Irish  drinking  cup. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  19 

And,  diving  in  the  dazzling  heap, 

Fill'd  hat  and  pockets  overflowing. 
"  Make  haste  !  young  friend,"  the  dark  man  cries, 

"I  mark  the  golden  sun's  returning, 
"And  in  the  misty  eastern  skies 

"  I  see  the  virgin  star  of  morning. 
"Take  my  best  blessing  on  thy  head  ! 
"  Go  and  be  happy,  Patt  O'Leary  ! 
"  And  don't  for  once,  delay  to  wed 

"My  great-granddaughter,  Mountain  Mary  ! 
"  That  nobly-born  Dalcassian  girl — 

"  It  pierced  my  anxious  heart  with  sorrow, 
"To  think  she'd  wed  a  Saxon  churl, 

"And  stain  the  blood  of  MacNamara.* 
* '  Go,  take  her  to  thy  manly  breast, 

"  Despite  of  her  degenerate  father ; 
"  And  long  may  you  and  she  be  blest, 

"  In  wedlock's  faithful  bonds  together. 
"My  name  were  clouded  with  disgrace, 

"  If  she  were  doomed  to  wed  with  any, 
"The  sordid,  treach'rous,  perjured  race 

"That  robb'd  us  of  our  patrimony  1" 
He  said,  and  led  him  from  the  hall, 
Just  as  the  morn  began  to  render 
Her  first,  faint  golden  tinge  to  all 

The  rich  surrounding  scene  of  splendour. 
An  odorous  wind  the  tree-tops  stirr'd, 

Flinging  their  honied  drops  before  him ; 
And  in  their  boughs,  each  radiant  bird, 

Appear 'd  a  singing  jewel,  o'er  him. 
Patt  glanced  around,  with  many  a  shirk, 

And  stroked  his  beard,  and  rubb'd  his  throttle  ; 
Drew  out  his  knife  and  fell  to  work 

At  cutting  down  a  hazel  wattle. 
The  dark  man  spoke,  with  flashing  brow — 

"Hurry,  lest  danger  may  come  o'er  thee  ! 
"Lo  !  yonder  is  thy  lucky  cow, 

"Go  quick,  and  drive  her  on  before  thee  !" 
Patt  gazed  at  drimin,  with  surprise, 

As  from  the  mead  he  ran  to  charge  her, 
She  look'd  so  monstrous,  in  his  eyes, 
No  three  fat  cows,  in  Clare,  were  larger. 
*  A  tradition,  current  in  Clare,  relates  that  Sheeda  MacNamara.  one  of 
the  Lords  of  Clancuilen,  was  carried  into  Cullane  Lake  by  a  lake  horse 
which  he  had  caught  and  tamed  for  his  own  use.     This  romantic  transaction 
occurred  when  the  chieftain  was  on  a  hunting  excursion  in  the  districts 
adjoining  the  lake.    The  rock  from  which  the  unnatural  animal  leaped, 
oearing  his  rider  to  a  watery  grave,  is  still  pointed  out  by  the  peasantry, 
having  the  impression  of  horse-shoes  visible  on  its  surface.    It  is  believed 
that  he  resides  in  the  lake,  like  O'Donoghue  in  that  of  Killarney  ;  and  the 
legend  farther  says,  that  Sheeda  will  yet  appear  at  the  head  of  a  Dalcas- 
sian army,  to  assist  in  the  regeneration  of  Ireland.   There  are  more  delusive 
propbwiaB  of  this  sort  in  circulation. 


20  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

The  silent  glory  of  the  dawn 

Blush'd  thro'  the  white  mist's  floating  curls, 
Covering  alley,  grove,  and  lawn, 

With  molten  gold  and  liquid  pearls  ! 
Breathing  a  melody  of  joy, 

Thro'  amber  beds  the  streams  were  flowing, 
Appearing  to  the  wondering  eye, 

Like  silver  in  a  furnace,  glowing. 
Large,  radiant  flowers  laugh'd  off  their  sweets 

To  gales,  in  love  around  them  dying, 
And  'mid  the  sylvan,  grand  retreats, 

Myriads  of  airy  harps  were  sighing  ! 
Such  were  the  scenes  Patt's  eye  beheld, 

The  heaven-created  valley  leaving  ; 
He  mark'd,  with  brimful  sorrow  fill'd, 

The  trees  a  lasting  farewell  waving  ! 

Now  towards  the  entrance  gate  he  drew, 

The  dark  man  flung  it  wide  asunder  ; 
Patt,  blind  with  gushing  tears,  pass'd  thro', 

And  heard  it  close  in  clanging  thunder. 
He  look'd  behind — the  scene  was  gone — 

A  thrill  of  wonder  gather'd  o'er  him  ; 
For,  nothing  save  the  blue  Lake  shone, 

With  all  its  silver  curls,  before  him. 
Was  it  a  splendid  dream  of  youth  ? 

No ;  let  the  sneering  world  doubt  him, 
For  he  had  tokens  of  its  truth, 

In  golden  evidence,  about  him  ! 
Was  he  not  independent  now  ? — 

His  bosom  swell'd  with  lofty  pleasure, 
As  thinking  where,  or  what,  or  how, 

He  might  expend  his  ample  treasure. 
He  twirl'd  his  hazel  in  the  air, 

And  felt  as  playful  as  a  fairy, 
As  ofF  he  tramp'd  to  Tulla  fair, 

To  meet  his  darling  Mountain  Mary. 
He  wonder'd  why  his  beard  had  grown, 

In  one  short  night,  so  large  and  lengthy  ; 
It  seem'd  as  if  'twere  never  mown 

During  his  days,  for  summers  twenty. 

When  he  arrived  at  Tulla  fair, 

He  sold  his  cow,  and  sought  his  Mary  ; 
And  half  the  boys  and  girls  of  Clare, 

Rush'd  to  shake  hands  with  Patt  O'Leary. 
"  Arrah  !  where  were  you,  this  whole  year,  Patt? 

"  Oh  !  welcome  home  1  you  darling  jewel  ! 
"  Twelve  months  away — by  this  and  that — 

"  You've  treated  your  poor  Mary  cruel  1" 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  21 

"Where  is  my  Colleen  ?"  Patt  replied, 

Wheeling  his  stick  and  wildly  leaping ; 
"I'm  here  !"  the  joyful  maiden  cried, 

Clasping  his  outstretch'd  hand,  and  weeping. 
"  Oh  !  Patt !  mo  bochaill,  tell  me  now  ! 

"Where  did  you  go  ?  why  did  you  leave  me  ? 
"I  thought  you  wouldn't  break  your  vow — 

"I  thought  you  never  would  deceive  me  !" 
He  gazed,  astonish'd,  at  the  maid, 

His  sparkling  blue  eyes  stared  and  started  ; 
"Why,  zounds  !  sure  'twas  last  night,"  he  said, 

"Since,  at  the  heather  bank,  we  parted  !" 
"  'Twas  last  night  twelve  months  !"  Mary  cried, 

"  Ask  all  your  friends,  the  Macs  and  Learys  ; 
"And  sure  'twas  rumour 'd,  far  and  wide, 

"That  you  were  taken  by  the  fairies  1" 
"Faith  !  'tis  a  year  or  more,  at  least, 

"  Since  you  were  miss'd  !"  said  Darby  Drury  : 
"  By  heaven  !  I  wouldn't  b'lieve  the  Priest !" 

Roar'd  Patt,  with  one  wild  burst  of  fury. 
"Mary,  my  darling  Colleen  Ogef 

"In  joy  or  grief,  you're  always  pleasant ; 
"When  did  you  see  that  Saxon  rogue  ? 

"  Or  is  he  in  the  fair  at  present  ?" 
"  He's  at  the  fair  !"  the  maid  replied, 

"I  saw  him  lately,  with  my  father  ; 
"Near  yonder  meadow's  dewy  side 

"  They  met  and  talk'd,  an  hour,  together  ; 
"My  father,  on  my  marriage  bent, 

"  Press'd  me,  with  many  a  soft  persuasion  ; 
"  But  I  refused  to  give  consent, 

"  With  many  a  tear  and  sly  evasion  ! 
"He  swore,  he'd  force  his  stern  command, 

' '  To  make  me  wed  a  heartless  '  ruffian  ;' 
"But,  ere  I'd  give  the  churl  my  hand, 

"My  bridal  bed  would  be  the  coffin  !ft 
"  Mary  !"  said  Patt,  before  we  part, 

"This  very  day  we  shall  be  wed ; 
"And  for  their  plans  to  break  your  heart, 

"I'll  break  the  Saxon  fellow's  head!" 

Into  a  tent  he  shoved  the  crowd, 

A  roaring  scene  of  mirth  begun ; 
Tom  Ryan  tuned  his  bagpipes  loud, 

And  played  the  soothing  Drinan  Donn  ; 
Patt  pranced  with  Mary,  up  and  down, 

And  startled  pipes  and  piper  fairly  ; 
'  You  squeaking  devil,  change  your  tune — 

"  Give  us  *  The  Wind  that  shakes  the  Barley  /' 
The  Captain  furiously  rush'd  in, 

And  fiercely  swore — '  *  By  heavens,  Mary  ! 


22  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

"  I'll  shoot  you  dead,  if  once  again 

"I  see  you  with  that  scamp,  O'Leary  !" 
Roar'd  Patt — ''You  sordid,  heartless  brute; 

"  That  never  had  a  manly  feeling  ! 
"  Take  a  return  of  your  salute  !" 

He  said,  and  knock'd  the  Captain  reeling. 
His  servant  to  the  barrack  ran, 

Proclaiming  the  eventful  story  ; 
Out  rush'd  the  redcoats,  every  man, 

With  bayonets  fix'd  for  war  and  glory. 
At  once  a  conflict  scour'd  the  fair  ! 

Sticks  flew,  as  if  a  sudden  storm 
Had  blown  a  forest  thro'  the  air  ; 

On  every  side  inflicting  harm  ; 
Foreheads  were  scalp'd,  and  heads  were  whack'd, 

Eyes  bump'd,  and  arms  dislocated  ; 
Faces  tattooed,  and  noses  crack'd, 

And  friends  and  foes  alike  prostrated. 
Patt,  with  his  wattle  of  the  Lake, 

Clear'd  the  whole  fair-green,  in  a  minute ; 
A  foeman  fell,  at  every  flake, 

As  if  a  ten-horse  power  was  in  it. 
The  Captain's  foil'd — the  close  of  night 

Beheld  the  Reverend  Father  Cleary, 
Reading  the  sacred  nuptial  rite 

For  honest  Patt  and  faithful  Mary. 


THE  ANGEL'S  VISIT. 

In  the  calm,  still  haze  of  a  sweet  spring  eve, 

When  the  dew-pearls  whiten'd  the  plain ; 
I  sat  on  the  bank,  where  the  fairies  weave 

The  gossamer's  spangled  chain  ; 
While  the  stream  croon'd  a  hymn  by  the  shore's  green  rim 

Where  virgin  spring-buds  listen'd 
'Mid  the  vernal  blades,  and  their  roseate  heads 

With  crystal  circlets  glisten'd  ! 
The  sun's  red  ring  in  the  dreamy  West, 

With  a  saffron  veil  was  shaded ; 
And  his  burning  crown,  as  he  sank  to  rest, 

To  a  glittering  ember  faded  ; 
While  behind  me,  in  the  dark  North  skies, 

Was  a  lovely  rainbow  glowing  ; 
With  cloudlets,  steep'd  in  its  triple  dyes, 

Round  its  diamond  crescent  flowing. 
And  that  heavenly  crescent  grew  and  glow'd 

With  a  richer  and  purer  ray, 
Like  a  diadem  dropp'd  from  the  brow  of  God, 

While  watching  His  angels'  play. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  23 

And  the  saffron  veil  which  the  sun  had  worn, 

With  a  ruddier  gold-tinge  shone  ; 
Like  the  crimson  glance  of  a  wintry  morn, 

When  the  frosty  mists  are  gone  ; 
And  the  hills — the  grand  eternal  hills —  *• 

Have  their  beautiful  snow-crowns  on. 

My  spirit  was  steep'd  in  the  sunset  charm, 

And  I  saw,  'mid  the  yellow  gloaming, 
A  glorious  white-robed  maiden  form 

Out  of  the  sun-mist  coming  ! 
And  she  floated  along  over  field  and  wood, 

With  her  snow-cloud  garment  splendid  ; 
Till  before  me  in  the  blue  air  she  stood, 

Above  the  calm  meadow,  suspended. 
The  wavy  rings  of  her  glistening  curls 

Fell  down,  like  a  star-beam's  glow,  x 

On  the  dazzling  cluster  of  rose-hued  pearls 

That  burn'd  on  her  robe  of  snow,  ^    J 

Whose  billowy  folds,  like  a  sunburst  grand,  •  jj? 

Far  under  her  feet  were  waving  ;  ^ 

Till  she  seem'd  'mid  a  sparkling  surge  to  stand, 

With  its  foam-fringe  round  her  heaving. 

Long,  long  ago,  in  my  youth's  May  hours, 

When  the  dreams  of  my  soul  were  bright ; 
I  flung  her  one  of  my  heart's  wild  flowers 

That  grew  in  her  beauty's  light ; 
But  she  died  ere  this  mournful  Earth  had  given 

One  tear  her  young  eye  to  gem ; 
For  her  beautiful  sisters  above  in  heaven, 

Ask'd  God  to  call  her  to  them. 
With  the  glow  of  Paradise  in  her  eyes, 

And  its  love  on  her  sweet  face  playing  ; 
She  linger'd,  above  me  in  the  skies, 

From  the  Land  of  the  angels  straying. 
For  she  came  to  show  me  a  glimpse  of  the  joy 

Which  God  gives  the  virtuous-hearted  ; 
Then  she  sail'd,  like  a  white  star,  back  to  the  sky, 

And  thro'  its  gray  shadows  departed. 

As  o'er  a  deep  lake  floats  a  beauteous  swan, 

Thro5  aerial  mist  she  sped ; 
And  smiling  look'd  up  as  she  glided  on, 

Mid  the  splendour  that  round  her  spread  ; 
Along  the  galaxy's  snowy  height, 

On  a  silver  line  she  trod, 
O'er  the  rainbow's  purple  rim  of  light, 

On  her  way  to  the  Palace  of  God. 


24  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

THE    FAIRY    BRIDAL. 

A   LEGEND   OF  KILLEELY.  * 

O'er  thy  waves,  lordly  Shannon,  the  May  moon  is  high, 

And  the  stars,  round  her  silver  throne,  dance  in  the  sky 

On  green  Monabraher  the  cold  dew  is  white, 

And  Killeely's  tombs  peep  thro'  the  gray  mist  of  night. 

No  signs  of  existence  the  stillness  divide 

From  the  gloomy  churchyard  to  the  dark  river  side  ; 

Save  the  shriek  of  the  owl  or  the  lone  night-winds'  sigh, 

Or  the  hoarse,  hollow  croon  of  the  stream  rushing  by. 

The  motionless  shadows  lie  silent  and  deep, 

As  the  dark  "narrow  house"  where  the  dead  is  asleep ; 

And  the  ghastly  plains,  steep'd  in  the  moon's  hazy  sheen, 

Seem  changing  to  pearl  their  garments  of  green. 

But,  who  on  the  silent  shore  wanders  alone, 

And  wrings  his  pale  hands,  with  a  loV  pensive  groan, 

Looking  towards  the  churchyard  where  the  blue  meteors  shine  ? 

'Tis  Cathol  MacCurtin,t  the  Bard  of  O'Brien. 

Ah  !  well  the  beholder  might  read  in  his  face 

The  heart-rooted  sorrow  that  banish'd  his  peace ; 

Deep  sorrow  for  Ellen,  the  loveliest  maid 

That  e'er  in  the  dust  of  Killeely  was  laid. 

When  the  youths  and  the  maidens,  last  sunny  May  morn, 

Held  their  summer  sports  under  the  fragrant  white  thorn  ; 

They  crowned  gentle  Ellen  their  beauteous  May  Queen, 

And  a  lovelier  or  fairer  one  never  was  seen. 

But  a  chilly  cloud  suddenly  darken'd  the  sun, 

And  a  cold,  gloomy  squall  shook  the  trees,  and  was  gone  ; 

And  young  Ellen  was  lifted  above  the  green  plain 

On  the  wings  of  that  weird  blast,  and  dash'd  down  again. 

Then  motionless  on  the  damp  sward  she  reclined, 

With  a  mist  on  her  eyes,  and  a  cloud  on  her  mind  ; 

And  her  voice  had  a  dreary  sepulchral  tone, 

As  if  that  wild  squall  had  just  left  her  its  own. 

Her  weeping  companions  assisted  her  home, 

And  laid  her  to  rest  in  her  white  cottage-room  ; 

*  The  fields  of  Killeely  are  traditionally  celebrated  as  favourite  haunts  of 
the  Fairy  tribe. 

f  Sir  "Walter  Scott,  in  his  notes  to  Rokeby,  speaks  of  MacCurtin  as  a 
minstrel  of  high  ability.  He  was  Bard  to  Donough  O'Brien  of  Thomond, 
but' on  the  submission  of  that  chief  to  the  English  power,  MacCurtin 
indignantly  satirised  his  degeneracy  of  spirit  and  quitted  his  house. 
O'Brien,  wrought  to  passion  by  the  severity  of  the  satire,  vowed  vengeance 
on  the  spirited  Bard,  who  flew  for  protection  to  MacCarthy,  prince  of 
Desmond,  and  received  honour  and  support  at  the  hands  of  that  noble  and 
generous  Chieftain.  Some  time  after,  O'Brien  met  the^Bard,  and  a  recon- 
ciliation was  the  result  of  the  meeting.  He  died  in \^$>&  after  the  "Flight 
of  the  Earls,"  and  at  the  time  of  the  wholesale  c^Bfiscations  of  the  finest 
lands  of  Ireland.  ,*  '  ■;**' ' 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  25 

But  ere  the  sun  sank  to  his  ocean  repose, 

The  caoine,  for  the  lovely  departed  one,  rose. 

And  the  matrons,  who  scatter'd  wild  flowers  on  her  bed, 

Declared  that  they  knew  not  the  face  of  the  dead. 

And,  an  herb-woman  said  that  in  Greenaun's  lone  dell 

The  beauteous  young  Ellen  was  living  and  well ; 

That  the  power  of  the  Fairies  the  dear  one  convey'd 

To  their  monarch,  who  long  was  in  love  with  the  maid  ; 

That  the  pale  wither'd  corpse,  which  was  deck'd  with  such 

care, 
Was  a  fairy,  instead  of  the  maiden,  left  there. 
And,  whoever  would  watch  for  nine  nights,  on  the  plain, 
By  the  river,  would  rescue  young  Ellen  again. 

And,  each  night,  since  the  coffin  was  laid  in  the  grave, 

Her  lover  has  stray'd  by  the  wild  river-wave  ; 

With  his  heart's  weary  hope  in  dark  war  with  despair, 

Expecting  his  Ellen  would  come  to  him  there. 

But  the  dim  moonlight  fog,  and  the  sad  bird  of  night, 

And  the  cold  stars,  were  all  that  appear'd  to  his  sight ; 

The  river  roll'd  on,  with  its  deep  sullen  tone, 

And  the  landscape  slept,  'round  it,  all  lovely  and  lone. 

Now,  the  ninth  weeping  night,  o'er  the  broad  Shannon,  threw 

Its  mist-skirted  shadows  of  silver  and  blue  ; 

And  the  fallen  clouds  mantled  the  river  and  plain, 

From  lonely  Killeely  to  shady  Par  teen. 

The  Aurora  Borealis  was  shooting  on  high 

Its  arrows  of  flame  in  the  Nor-th's  sullen  sky. 

And  the  moonbeam,  that  on  the  cold  river-haze  shone, 

Like  a  broad  silver  belt,  o'er  the  waters  was  thrown. 

The  bell  has  toll'd  twelve,  and  the  world  is  at  rest, 

And  the  white  moon  has  travell'd  half-way  to  the  West  ; 

And  a  tall  female  figure  appears  by  the  tide, 

But,  her  step  leaves  no  track  on  the  bank's  dewy  side  ; 

And  her  thin  airy  robe  looks  so  white  and  so  cold, 

The  light  of  the  moon  seems  to  freeze  in  each  fold. 

Her  person  speaks  beauty,  her  bearing  is  proud, 

And  she  moves  like  the  shade  of  a  golden  May  cloud. 

Yet  her  dim,  aerial  form  no  shadow  hath  cast, 

And,  the  dew  lies  unstirr'd  on  the  grass  where  she  pass'd. 

And,  Cathol  springs  forward  the  fair  one  to  greet, 

But  he  stands  as  if  magic  had  fetter'd  his  feet. 

And  his  hair  grows  erect,  and  his  blood  seems  to  freeze, 

For,  it  is  not  his  own  gentle  Ellen  he  sees  ; 

But,  one  whose  dark'shadowy  grandeur  of  face 

Resembled  the  deep  solemn  aspect  of  space, 

Thro'  the  parted  clouds  seen,  on  a  cold  night  of  snow, 

When  Earth  lies  in  silence  and  whiteness  below. 

And  her  voice — like  the  wind  on  a  blue  autumn-hill, 

Sighing  o'er  the  brown  fern — was  dismal  and  shrill. 


26  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

"  Young  Minstrel  of  Thomond's  green  valleys  !  by  me, 
Thy  Ellen  commissions  a  message  to  thee  ; 
She  bids  thee,  conducted  by  me,  to  repair 
To  the  grand  Fairy  hall  of  the  Palace  of  Air ; 
And  bear  her  away  from  the  spells  of  the  King, 
Ere  he  puts  on  her  finger  the  bright  wedding  ring  !" 

Then,  Cathol  replied — "  Oh  !  whoever  thou  art, 
Conduct  me,  at  once,  to  the  maid  of  my  heart ; 
Where'er  be  her  dwelling,  in  air,  earth,  or  sea, 
Tho'  life  were  the  forfeit,  I'll  go  there  with  thee  ! 
From  my  home,  by  the  clear-flowing  Fergus,  I  strayed, 
To  the  banks  of  the  Shannon,  to  woo  the  young  maid  ; 
But  since  the  sweet  colleen  was  stolen  away, 
The  sky  is  my  roof  and  my  couch  is  the  clay  ; 
In  O'Brien's  proud  hall  there's  no  sweet  voice  of  song, 
And  the  angry  Chief  wonders  what  keeps  me  so  long  !" 

Then,  she  laid  on  his  arm  her  chill  snowy  hand, 
And  lifted  him  up  from  the  green  dewy  strand  ; 
As  the  hawk  bears  the  lark,  or  an  eagle  a  hare, 
She  upheld  him,  and  bore  him  along  thro'  the  air ; 
Towards  the  old  ruin'd  Church  of  Killeely*  she  bends, 
And  on  the  green  skirt  of  the  graveyard  descends. 
And  Cathol  stood  gazing,  in  voiceless  surprise, 
Where  a  palace,  in  glory,  arose  on  his  eyes  ; 
Its  windows  and  walls  were  with  diamonds  illumed, 
And  its  halls  with  the  brightest  of  roses  perfumed  ; 
The  towers  were  like  crystal,  and  rising  so  high, 
Their  tall  heads  were  lost  in  the  blue  of  the  sky. 
The  pillars  were  silver,  the  ceilings  rich  coral, 
The  doors  purest  gold,  and  the  floor  whitest  pearl ; 
The  walls,  like  a  spring-sky,  transparently  blue, 
Let  the  light  of  the  moon  and  the  star-lustre  thro'. 

Thro'  the  rich  halls  of  splendour  the  minstrel  was  led 

To  a  pompous  saloon  where  a  banquet  was  spread  ; 

The  tables  were  flaming  with  silver  and  gold, 

And  so  laden  with  dainties,  no  more  could  they  hold. 

Ladies  and  Lords  of  distinction  were  there, 

With  bright  looks  of  pleasure,  that  never  knew  care ; 

And  Heroes  that  oft  led  the  battle's  advance, 

And,  white-headed  Ollamhs,  and  Knights  of  the  lance. 

*  The  ancient  church  of  Killeely  was  founded  by  St.  Leila,  the  sister  of 
St.  Munchion.  It  stood  near  the  north-west  bank  of  the  Shannon,  in  the 
County  of  Clare,  and  not  far  from  the  western  suburbs  of  Limerick.  There 
is  not  a  vestige  of  the  old  church  remaining.  Cromwell  dismantled  it,  and 
used  the  stones  in  erecting  forts  while  besieging  Limerick.  Her  sister,  Rose, 
l|pilt  the  little  Church  of  Kilrush,  now  known  as  Old  Church,  the  residence 
m  the  Hon.  Robert  O'Brien  ;  and  her  younger  brother,  Quaan,  built  the 
venerable  Church  of  Kilquaan,  commonly  known  as  Parteen.  In  Killeely, 
lie  interred  the  remains  of  the  great  Irish  Historian,  Sylvester  O'Halloran. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND,  27 

There  were  dancing  and  laughing,  and  music  and  wine, 
And  robes  flashing  rich  with  the  wealth  of  the  mine  : 
And  healths  drank,  and  songs  sung,  and  high  toasts  proposed, 
And  war  feats  recited,  and  love  feats  disclosed. 

So  vast  was  the  number  of  guests  in  that  hall, 
His  dazzled  eye  fail'd  to  distinguish  them  all ; 
But  many  he  knew,  whose  cold  ashes  were  laid, 
For  years,  in  the  dark  silent  house  of  the  dead ; 
Noble  chiefs  slain  in  battle,  and  maids  who  died  young, 
Whose  biers  he  attended — whose  requiems  he  sung — 
Were  all  there,  as  blooming,  elated  and  gay, 
As  if  Life  gave  new  beauty  and  fire  to  their  clay. 

He  had  seen  in  MacCarthy's  high  palace  of  pride, 
Gallant  chieftains  and  lords  at  the  banquet  preside ; 
He  had  seen  beauteous  women  and  chivalrous  men, 
In  the  old  regal  halls  of  renown'd  Inchiquin. 
He  had  been,  in  his  travels,  thro'  rich  Inisfail, 
In  the  grand  festive  mansion  of  kingly  O'Neill : 
But  never,  till  now,  did  his  wonder-struck  sight 
Behold  an  assemblage  so  gorgeous  and  bright. 

The  Red  Hand  of  Nial  and  the  proud  Flag  of  Clare, 

With  their  mottoes  "  Lamh  Dearg"  and  "  Lamh  Ladir"  were 

there  ; 
And  the  Sunburst,  that  Brian  to  victory  bore, 
Flash'd  between,  with  its  radiant  field  sprinkled  with  gore. 
And  the  Bard,  as  the  old  banners  glanced  on  his  view, 
Wildly  shouted,  "  Lamh  Dearg  !  and  Lamh  Ladir  !  Aboo  !"* 
At  once,  to  their  feet,  all  the  nobles  upsprung, 
And  the  hall  with  the  thunder  of  clashing  steel  rung  ; 
And  the  banners  were  grasp'd,  and  each  Knight  struck  his 

targe, 
And  the  wild  ringing  "  Bar  a  Boo"  sounded  the  charge  ; 
But,  a  sage-looking  herald,  with  beard  white  and  long, 
Leapt  amongst  them,  and  cool'd  down  the  fire  of  the  throng. 

Then,  the  solemn  and  shadowy  Spirit  that  led 

The  steps  of  the  Bard  to  the  halls  of  the  Dead  ; 

Caught  up  his  right  hand  and  poured  out  on  its  palm 

A  sweet  fairy  ointment,  of  magical  balm ; 

And  pointed  to  where,  by  the  King's  jewell'd  throne, 

A  large  golden  harp  on  the  crystal  wall  shone  ; 

With  those  words  written  o'er  it,  in  letters  of  light, 

Which  were  traced  by  the  hand  of  some  star-haunting  sprite ; 

"  Whoever  shall  strike  this  great  Harp's  magic  string, 

Shall  vanquish  the  power  of  the  dread  Fairy  King  /" 

*  The  war«crie«  of  the  O'Neills  and  the  O'Briens. 


28  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Then,  Mac  Curtin,  embolden'd,  press'd  on  thro'  the  hall, 
Amid  bright  ranks  of  ladies  and  nobles,  and  all ; 
And  advanced  to  the  foot  of  the  diamond-built  throne, 
Where  the  large  golden  harp  on  the  crystal  wall  shone. 
On  that  throne  sat  the  monarch,  resplendently  crown'd, 
With  his  marshals,  and  nobles,  and  heralds,  around  ; 
On  his  left  his  high-gifted  Ard  Filea  was  seen, 
On  his  right  sat  young  Ellen,  elected  his  Queen  ; 
The  Bard  made  obeisance,  and  bowed  himself  down, 
The  King,  in  acknowledgment,  bent  his  rich  crown  ; 
But  Ellen,  alternately  blush'd,  and  grew  pale, 
And  shaded  her  face  in  her  white  bridal  veil. 
MacCurtin  still  kept  on  the  gold  harp  his  glance, 
The  guards  drew  their  swords  and  oppos'd  his  advance ; 
And  the  noise  of  the  revelry  ceased  thro'  the  hall, 
And,  they  sat  as  if  terror  had  frozen  them  all. 

The  Bard  never  heeded  but  stretch'd  forth  his  hand, 

And  took  down  the  instrument,  radiant  and  grand  ; 

And  touched  its  weird  chords,  whose  wild,  wonderful  sound 

Made  the  towers  and  the  shining  halls  tremble  around ; 

The  guests  started  up  and  looked  on,  in  surprise, 

With  their  wrapt,  listening  souls  rushing  out  from  their  eyes, 

While  the  Bard  struck  the  magical  strings  to  the  tune 

Of  that  angel  of  harmony,  "  Eilleen  Aroon  /" 

Fixed  as  statues  stood  herald,  and  noble,  and  knight, 

And  the  ladies  fell  off  in  a  swoon  of  delight  ; 

And  Ellen  flung  by  her  rich  diadem  of  pride, 

And  sprung  from  the  throne  to  her  loved  Cathol's  side, 

Who  clasp'd  her,  and  cried  out,  "Oh  !  King  !  be  it  known, 

Thy  spells  are  subdued,  and  this  maid  is  my  own  !" 

Then  the  monarch  grew  wrathful,  and  leaped  from  his  throne, 

And  broke  the  gold  harp  of  the  wonderful  tone  ; 

A  murmur  arose,  and  a  shadow  of  gloom, 

Like  a  thundercloud,  swept  o'er  the  sheen  of  the  room. 

The  crow  of  a  cock  on  the  night-gale  was  heard, 
The  palace  thrice  rock'd,  and  the  lights  disappear'd  ; 
And  a  voice  cried  aloud,  "  It  is  day  !  it  is  day  !" 
And  the  guests  rush'd,  confusedly  and  wildly,  away. 
The  rich  diamond  walls  into  vapour  were  thrown, 
And  Cathol  was  left,  with  his  Ellen,  alone. 


IRISH  BEAUTY  AND  EASTERN  PERIS. 

Air. — "Send  round  the  wine." 

Oh  !  I  think,  when  I  see  thy  bright  amber  locks  stream, 
like  the  light  sunset  haze,  o'er  the  snow  of  thy  breast, 

Of  jtfeoBe*  Peris  of  love  that  our  Bard,  in  his  dream, 
gad  seeirm  .the  rich  pearl-isles  of  the  East. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  29 

But  if  ever  a  Peri,  of  beauty  and  light, 

Delighted  to  play  'mid  the  beams  of  the  moon  ; 

I'd  swear  thou  wert  one,  had  I  seen  thee,  at  night, 
Mid  the  odours  of  May  or  the  roses  of  June. 

Had  his  wizard-eye  seen  the  young  dawn  of  thy  smiles — 

In  thy  springday  of  beauty — he  never  would  roam 
To  sing  Peri-spells  in  the  East's  pearl-isles, 
(      And  forget  he  had  Peris  more  lovely  at  home. 
J    He  may  boast  of  the  beauty  that  smiles  in  the  East ! 

Yet  we  know  not  what  dross  may  be  mix'd  with  the  ore 
But  here,  in  our  own  sunny  Isle  of  the  West, 

We  have  beauty  and  virtue — could  angels  have  more  ? 

Yes  !  virtue  as  pure  as  the  morning's  first  gleam  ! 

And  lips  rich  and  sweet  as  the  flowers  of  the  grove  ; 
And  eyes  breathing  spells  in  their  heart-melting  beam  ! 

And  bright  faces  made  to  the  image  of  love. 
Then  drink  to  our  own  Irish  girls,  and  pray 

That  the  sun  of  their  beauty  may  never  have  night ; 
But  shine  on  undimm'd  thro'  their  life's  rosy  day, 

With  the  snow  of  their  virtue  still  pure  in  its  light. 


YOUNG  ELLEN  OF  THE  GROVE. 

How  blushing  and  bright  the  calm,  sweet,  summer  morn 
Beholds  her  red  face  in  the  stream's  glossy  sheen  ; 

The  light  zephyrs  breathe  on  the  white  flowering  thorn, 
And  waste  all  its  sweets  round  the  dew  sheeted  green. 

The  lark  pours  his  hymn  'mid  the  clouds'  yellow  splendour 
The  brown  willow  nods  o'er  the  river's  blue  rim  ; 

The  wild  rose  peeps  out  from  its  brier-throne,  so  slender, 
With  the  weight  of  its  dewy  crown  bending  its  stem. 

Bloom  on,  ye  young  flowers,  in  the  fields'  vernal  shadows  ! 

Sing  on,  ye  wild  songsters,  to  nature  and  love  ! 
'Twas  here  'mid  the  bright  summer  light  of  those  meadows, 

I  first  saw  young  Ellen,  the  Queen  of  the  Grove. 

White  was  her  breast  of  love,  red  was  her  lip  above, 
Rich  was  her  cheek,  like  a  flower  in  full  blow ; 

Graceful  and  bright  o'er  her  eye's  dancing  light 
Rose  her  brow,  like  a  lily  bent  over  a^sloe. 

"  Queen  of  the  sunny  locks  !  hear  me  !  oh,  hear  me!      ' 
Wert  thou  sent  to  the  earth  on  a  mission  of  love  ? 

What  news  from  the  angels?  oh  !  sweet  one,  come  near  meJT 
And  tell  me  some  tale  of  thy  sisters  above  1" 


30  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

One  kind  smile  I  wanted — the  favour  was  granted — 
Then  off  thro'  the  wild-flowers  she  sprung,  like  a  roe  ; 

And  the  daisy-bells  sweet  seem'd  to  gaze  at  her  feet, 
Admiring  their  shape,  and  comparing  their  snow. 

When  Nature  all  glowing  with  sunshine  and  showers, 
Awoke  from  the  couch  of  her  wintry  repose  ; 

She  smiled  on  the  green  earth,  and  forth  blush 'd  the  flowers, 
She  gazed  on  young  Ellen,  and  painted  the  rose. 


MONABRAHER.* 

Air. — "  Gamavilla." 

Fairy  shades  of  Monabraher  ! 

Airy  meads  of  Monabraher  ! 
There  the  skylark  pours  his  earliest  song, 

To  welcome  spring  in  Monabraher. 
Oh  !  many  a  lovely  summer's  eve, 

Whilst  fell  the  sunset's  deepening  shadows  ; 
I  lingered  by  the  pale  blue  wave, 

To  breathe  the  sweetness  of  thy  meadows. 

Fairy  shades  of  Monabraher,  &c. 

'Twas  there  my  heart's  first  dream  of  love 

Took  many  a  fairy-wing'd  transition  ; 
And  wild  imagination  wove 

Her  sunny  webs  of  golden  vision. 
And  when  my  young  eye  beauty  sought, 

'Twas  in  thy  airy  shades  I  saw  her ; 
And  there  my  wrapt  soul  kindled  thought 

That  burst  to  song  in  Monabraher. 

Fairy  shades  of  Monabraher,  &c. 

Of  all  the  sun-bright  summer  scenes 

That  smile  round  Shannon's  pleasant  river  ; 
Woodclad  hills  and  shamrock  plains, 

In  Nature's  beauty  rich  for  ever  : 
There's  none  can  yield  my  heart  such  joy 

As  Monabraher's  meadows  bowery  ; 
There  Love  and  Fancy  lit  my  eye. 

And  Nature  taught  me  lessons  flowery. 

Fairy  shades  of  Monabraher,  &c. 

*  Moina-m-brathar,  i.e.,  the  Friars'  Bog.  It  formerly  belofcyrad  to  the 
Dominicans,  and  was  the  scene  of  a  great  battle,  a  descriptioitjUf-lrhich  is 
to  be  found  in  this  volume.  Some  years  ago  this  historio*  plain  was 
beautified  by  Robert  Hunt,  Esq.,  J. P.,  of  Limerick.  He  planted  it  with 
a  great  number  of  trees,  which  give  it  a  fine  woodland  appearance. 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF  TIIOMOND.  31 

DRAHERIN    O  MACHREE.* 

Am. — " Draherin  O  Machree." 

I  grieve  when  I  think  on  the  dear  happy  days  of  my  youth, 
When  all  the  bright  dreams  of  this  faithless  world  seem'd  truth ; 
When  I  strayed  thro'  the  green  wood,  as  gay  as  a  midsummer- 
bee, 
In  brotherly  love  with  my  Draherin  0  Machree  ! 

Together  we  lay  in  the  sweet-scented  meadows  to  rest, 
Together  we  watch'd  the  gay  lark  as  he  sung  o'er  his  nest, 
Together  we  pluck'd  the  red  fruit  of  the  fragrant  hawtree, 
And  I  loved,  as  a  sweetheart,  my  Draherin  0  Machree  ! 

His  form  was  straight  as  the  hazel  that  grows  in  the  glen, 
His  manners  were  courteous,  and  social,  and  gay  amongst  men ; 
His  bosom  was  white  as  the  lily  on  summer's  green  lea — 
His  God's  brightest  image  was  Draherin  0  Machree  ! 

Oh  !  sweet  were  his  words  as  the  honey  that  falls  in  the  night, 
And  his  young  smiling  face  like  the  May-bloom  was  fresh,  and 

as  bright ; 
His  eyes  were  like  dew  on  the  flower  of  the  sweet  apple-tree  ; 
My  heart's  spring  and  summer  was  Draherin  0  Machree  ! 

He  went  to  the  wars  when  proud  England  united  with  France,  f 
His  regiment  was  first  in  the  red  battle-charge  to  advance ; 
But  when  night  drew  its  veil  o'er  the  gory  and  life-wasting  fray, 
Pale,  bleeding,  and  cold  lay  my  Draherin  0  Machree ! 

Oh  !  if  I  were  there,  I'd  watch  over  my  darling's  last  breath  ! 
I'd  wipe  his  cold  brow,  and  I'd  soften  his  pillow  of  death  ; 
I'd  pour  the  hot  tears  of  my  heart's  melting  anguish  o'er  thee ! 
Oh  !  blossom  of  beauty  !  my  Draherin  0  Maclwee  ! 

Perhaps,  in  his  death-pangs,  he  wish'd  that  his  loved  one  were 

near 
To  clasp  his  cold  hand,  with  a  fond -breathing  prayer,  and  a  tear ! 
As  he  gasp'd  all  neglected,  with  none  but  his  Maker  to  see, 
And  pity,  my  poor  dying  Draherin  0  Machree  ! 

Now  I'm  left  to  weep,  like  the  sorrowful  bird  of  the  night, 
This  earth  and  its  pleasures,  no  more  shall  afford  me  delight ; 
The  dark  narrow  grave  is  the  only  sad  refuge  for  me, 
Since  I  lost  my  heart's  darling — my  Draherin  0  Machree  ! 

My  soul  has  exhausted  its  treasure  of  tears  for  my  love  ! 
He  comes  to  my  dreams,  from  his  home  in  the  regions  above ; 
I  long  for  the  hour  when  my  grief -worn  spirit  is'  free, 
To  meet  in  those  regions  my  Draherin  0  Machree  7 


*  Little  brother  of  my  heart. 

t  Referring  to  the  Battle  of  Inkerraan,  where  this  young  Irishmai 


£ia 


32  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


THE  PEASANT'S  STORY. 

When  showery's  April's  golden  sky 
O'er  Nature's  birth  shed  tears  of  joy  ! 
I  strayed  a  happy,  careless  boy, 

By  Garna's  fairy  river  : 
My  days  were  pearls  in  Time's  bright  flood, 
And  my  heart  was  like  the  honey  bud, 
Fresh  opening  in  the  vernal  wood, 

By  Garna's  fairy  river.* 

But  Love's  young  footstep  left  its  trace 
Upon  the  calm  dew  of  my  peace, 
Since  first  I  saw  sweet  Peggy's  face, 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 
May  morning,  with  her  misty  curls, 
Bright  beaming  on  her  throne  of  pearls, 
Could  only  peer  my  queen  of  girls, 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 

Sweet  was  the  hour,  and  bright  the  day, — 
The  corn  waved  an  emerald  sea, — 
When  Peggy  gave  her  heart  to  me, 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 
Her  wedding  guests  were  love  and  truth  ; 
Her  bridal  hall,  my  humble  hut ; 
Her  dow'ry,  beauty,  health,  and  youth  ; 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 

Like  dewdrops  on  the  shamrock  sod, 
Our  simple  hearts  with  one  light  glow'd  ; 
We  lived  and  loved,  and  thank'd  our  God  ! 

By  Garna's  fairy  river." 
To  know  the  world  we  had  no  wish — 
Our  neighbours  were  the  lark  and  thrush  ; 
Our  summer  shade,  the  flowering  bush, 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 

Thro'  winter's  showers  and  summer's  sun, 
Our  peaceful  thread  of  life  we  spun  ; 
And  honest  was  the  bread  we  won 

By  Garna's  fairy  river  : 
But  tyranny  our  poor  hut  found, 
And  razed  its  clay  walls  to  the  ground  ; 
Oh !  God,  what  tears  our  young  hopes  drown'd  ? 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 

*  Literally  O'Cearneigh.      It  flows    thro'  Six-mile-Bridge  into  tho 
Shannon,  below  Bunratty  Castle. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  33 

That  lowly  hut  to  us  had  been 

As  good  as  court  to  King  and  Queen  ; 

While  love  and  peace  endear'd  the  scene 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 
Grief  laid  my  blue-eyed  Peggy  low  ; 
To  lords  and  laws  I  turn'd  a  foe, 
And  slew  the  author  of  our  woe, 

By  Garna's  fairy  river. 


BROWN-HAIRED    JANE. 
Air. — "  'Gra  Machree." 

The  Moon  behind  the  Cratloe  hills 

Has  hid  her  silver  horn ; 
And  o'er  the  dewy  summer-woods 

Appears  the  yellow  morn. 
The  skylark  high  in  heaven's  blue  fields, 

Sings  sweet  his  early  lay ; 
And  Nature  in  her  vernal  arms 

Has  clasp'd  the  bright  young  Day. 

Oh,  kingly  Sun  !  that  brightens  heaven 

And  drinks  the  sparkling  dew  ! 
And  spreads  a  golden  robe  of  light 

Upon  the  mountains  blue  : 
Yet,  linger  in  thy  radiant  course 

Along  the  Western  main  ! 
And  fling  thy  glory  round  the  bark 

That  bears  my  Brown-hair'd  Jane  ! 

Among  green  Meelick's  dewy  fern, 

In  life's  young  dawn,  we  play'd  ; 
Her  smiles  were  like  the  rosy  beams 

That  gild  the  green  wood  shade ; 
Her  eye  was  clearer  than  the  spring 

That  feeds"J;he  woodland  rills  ; 
Her  step  was  lighter  than  the  haze 

That  veils  the  autumn  hills. 

Her  hand  was  like  the  daisy's  rim  ; 

Her  robe  of  stainless  white  ; 
Her  brow  like  summer's  moonlight-mist 

On  Shannon's  wave,  at  night ; 
Her  cheek  was  softer  than  the  dew 

On  Coonagh's  twilight  plain — 
You'd  think  that  Nature  in  a  dream 

Conceived  my  Brown-hair'd  Jane. 

There's  many  a  radiant  maiden-flower 
In  Cratloe's  mountain-shades ; 

But  she,  the  bright  queen-rose  of  all, 
Is  gone  from  Meelick's  meads ; 


34  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  summer  now  looks  on  those  fields, 

As  if  their  sunny  green 
Had  lost  its  May-bloom  glow,  and  died 

With  grief  for  Brown-hair'd  Jane. 

Among  green  Meelick's  airy  bowers 

Her  homely  father  dwell'd  ; 
Till  one,  he  deem'd  a  kindred  friend, 

Usurp'd  the  lands  he  held  ; 
Then  for  Columbia's  distant  wilds 

He  took  the  western  main  ; 
And  far  from  Meelick's  rural  shades 

He  bore  my  Brown-hair'd  Jane. 


THE  DEATH  OF  MOROGH. 

Dark  Prince  of  the  Dalgais  !  high  offspring  of  Heber  ! 
Nerve  of  brass,  never  weary  of  battle's  fierce  labour  ! 
Thou,  in  whose  presence  the  mighty  stood  trembling, 
When  hosts  for  the  red  work  of  death  were  assembling  ! 
As  the  burning  flash  leaps  from  a  thunder-cloud  horrid, 
And  shatters  to  fragments  the  mountain's  black  forehead ; 
Thus  thro'  the  fierce  battle-surge  burst  thy  dread  form, 
With  the  strength  of  the  flash,  and  the  sweep  of  the  storm. 

'Round  thy  red  path  the  brass-coated  giants  lay  riven. 
With  their  blood-oozing  death-wounds  wide-gaping  to  heaven 
Thro'  all  the  long  day,  'mid  the  iron  surge  heaving, 
Thy  axe  of  destruction  was  crashing  and  cleaving  ; 
While,  with  wild  eyes  dilating,  the  fear-stricken  foeman 
Stood  pale  in  amaze  at  thy  strength  superhuman  ;* 
He  thought  that  some  fire-arm'd  Spirit  of  wonder, 
Leap'd  down  on  his  ranks,  from  the  house  of  the  thunder. 

Strong  as  the  ocean-cliff — fleet  as  the  beagle, 
Fierce  as  an  angry  god — proud  as  the  eagle, 
Thou  wert  on  that  grim  day  of  bloodshed  and  ruin, 
When  hosts  lay  like  grass  that  the  mower  is  strewing  ; 
When  kings  from  the  height  of  their  glory  were  tumbled, 
And  proud  heads  of  tribes  in  the  lowly  dust  humbled  ; 
Thou  hast  stood  like  a  hill,  while  the  forests,  that  crown'd  it, 
All  blasted  and  broken,  lay  prostrate  around  it. 

'Mid  the  bursting  of  ranks  and  the  smashing  of  armour, 
Thy  axe  hiss'd  and  tore,  as  the  plough  of  the  farmer 
Drives  on  thro'  the  field,  the  brown  stubble  upturning ; 
Or  the  rush  of  the  flame  when  a  city  is  burning. 

*  Tradition  relates  that  many  of  the  Danes,  on  beholding  the  dreadful 
havoc  and  carnage  committed  by  Morogh,  at  the  Battle  of  Clontarf,  stood 
paralysed  with  amazement.  It  is  also  said  that  the  stroke  of  his  battle-axe 
was  heard  distinctly,  by  spectators,  ringing  abore  the  tumult  and  clash  of 
the  conflict. 


.LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  35 

In  the  charge  of  the  giants,  thy  step  was  the  proudest ; 
'Mid  the  thunder  of  weapons,  thy  blow  rung  the  loudest ; 
And  thy  steel  made  the  gaps  in  the  bleeding  hosts  deeper — 
Their  squadrons  were  corn,  but  thou  wert  the  reaper. 

To  the  cool  spring  the  warrior  retires  from  the  slaughter, 
And  bathes  his  swell'd  hand  in  the  crystal-bright  water ; 
That  hand  in  whose  might  lay  the  fate  of  a  Nation, 
The  fortune  of  battle — all  Erin's  salvation. 
On  his  armour  the  blood  of  the  sea-kings  is  streaming, 
His  fire-flashing  eyes,  like  two  meteors,  are  gleaming  : 
With  a  thousand  bold  sword-strokes  his  cuirass  is  batter'd, 
And  the  plume  of  his  helmet  hangs  broken,  and  shattered. 

With  the  rush  of  a  whirlwind,  he's  back  to  the  battle, 

Hark  !  the  clang  and  the  crash  of  his  blows,  how  they  rattle  ; 

Lo  !  the  clouds  of  the  combat  the  fierce  chief  environ 

With  a  deluge  of  blood,  and  a  tempest  of  iron  ; 

Pile  on  pile,  the  invaders  fall  cloven  before  him, 

Behold,  where  he  fights,  a  thick  blood-mist  is  o'er  him ; 

See  round  him  the  swords,  how  they  dance,  flash,  and  quiver, 

In  one  leaping  flood,  like  the  fall  of  a  river, 

Hast  thou  heard  the  ice-mail  of  the  winter-lake  roaring, 
When  a  thick  shower  of  hail  on  its  surface  is  pouring ; 
While  the  thawing  snow-flood,  from  the  white  hills,  sweeps 

o'er  it, 
And  bursts  the  cold  doors  of  its  bondage  before  it ; 
The  waves  dancfe,  like  spirits  of  freedom  new-risen  ; 
And  fling  to  the  shore  the  gray  wreck  of  their  prison. 
So  burst  the  mail'd  ranks  where  fierce  Morogh  rush'd  thro' 

them, 
So  the  iron-clad  sea-giants  groan'd  as  he  slew  them. 

The  silver-hair'd  Ruler  of  Erin,  stands  gazing 
On  that  death-cover'd  plain,  where  the  combat  is  blazing ; 
And  he  sees  the  dread  war-axe  of  Satric  the  valiant, 
Hewing  down  the  tall  ranks  of  Clan  Eoghain*  the  gallant ; 
And  he  cries,  "Lo,  yon  giant  !  my. .son,  go  defeat  him  J" 
And  Morogh  obeys,  and  springs  forward  to  meet  him  ; 
He  drives  thro'  the  war,  with  the  rush  of  the  thunder  ; 
And,  thro'  helmet  and  armour,  cleaves  Satric  asunder. 

The  sun  to  the  ocean's  red  wave  is  retiring^; 
And  the  battle  still  rages  with  wrath  unexpiring ;       ^. 
But  the  chiefs  of  the  north,  with  the  jackets  of  mail,  . 
Are  all  smash'd  by  the  axes  of  mighty  Clan  Tail  ;f 

*  The  Eugenians,  clans  of  South  Munster,  of  the  stock  of  the  MacCarthy 
More,  descended  from  Eugene  of  Owen  More,  who  conquered  "  Conn  of  the 
Hundred  Battles,"  and  compelled  him  to  divide  the  country  equally  between 
them. 

t  The  Dalcassians,  descended  from  Cormac  Caa,  the  brothtr  of  Owen 
More. 


36  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND, 

With  their  huge  frames  divided,  they  lie  in  grim  ridges, 

Like  oaks  split  asunder  by  strong  iron  wedges. 

On  their  mail,  hack'd  and   shatter'd,  their  heart's  blood  is 

crusting, 
And  their  weapons,  beside  them,  lie  broken  and  rusting. 

By  a  mound  of  slain  heroes,  whose  blood-gouts  were  raining, 
The  fierce  Morogh  stands,  'gainst  the  horrid  pile  leaning ; 
His  right  hand — no  longer  his  country's  protection — 
Is  swoll'n  and  powerless,  from  dealing  destruction ; 
He  glares  all  around,  with  the  eye  of  a  lion, 
From  the  host  of  Clan  Tail  to  the  tent  of  King  Brian ; 
And  his  face,  like  a  spirit's,  with  lightning  seems  burning, 
For  the  red  scale  of  victory,  for  Erin,  is  turning. 

The  Prince*  of  the  Sea-Robbers  stands  to  survey  him, 
He  sees  him  disabled,  and  rushes  to  slay  him  ; 
With  war-axe  uplifted  and  flashing,  he  came  on, 
With  the  stride  of  a  god,  and  the  frown  of  a  demon ; 
Morogh  grasps  the  strong  chief,  with  his  left  hand  upswings 

him, 
And  shakes  off  his  armour,  then  prostrate  he  flings  him ; 
Press'd  the  sword^thro'  his  frame — but  the  Dane,  ere  he  died, 
Grasp'd  the  skian  of  great  Morogh,  and  opened  his  side. 

As  falls  a  round  tower  by  a  thunder-bolt  riven, 

When  the  Lord,  in  his  wrath,  scatters  lightning  thro'  heaven ; 

From  its  site,  with  a  circle  of  dark  oaks  surrounded, 

It  shrinks  from  the  rage  of  the  heaven  that  crown'd  it. 

Thus  stretch'd  on  the  plain,  by  his  foeman's  side,  dying, 

The  glory  and  hope  of  Mononia  is  lying  ; 

His  eye  with  the  last  spark  of  valour  is  blazing, 

And  still  on  the  breast  of  the  battle  he's  gazing. 

Wrap  his  cochal  around  him,  his  death-wound  to  cover  ! 
Hide  his  fall — keep  your  tears,  till  the  combat  is  over  ! 
Bear  him  off  on  your  shields  to  the  tent  of  his  father, 
As  they  lived,  let  them  die  in  their  glory,  together. 
To  the  hearts  of  the  mighty  their  fall  shall  bring  sorrow  ! 
Air  Erin  shall  weep  for  the  heroes  to-morrow. 
No  more  shall  their  right  hands  be  lifted  to  save  her  ! 
And  clothe  her  with  glory,  and  crush  her  enslaver  ! 

Dread  cleaver  of  armies — red  plague  of  invaders  ! 
Strong  rock  of  Mononia's  fierce  legions  and  leaders  ! 
How  may  I  describe  the  wild  anguish  and  sorrow, 
When  the  news  of  thy  fall  had  arrived  at  Kinkora  ? 

*  Anrudh,  Prince  of  Denmark.  This  mighty  chief  was  clad  from  ankle 
to  bead  with  heavy  brass  armour,  which  Morogh  shook  off  his  body,  as  de- 
scribed in  the  text. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  37 

Where  the  Bards,  who  assembled  to  hail  thy  returning, 
Flung  away  their  gold  harps,  and  shriek'd  wild  with  their 

mourning ; 
While  Tail's  royal  maids  smote  their  bosoms  of  whiteness, 
And  tore  from  their  tresses  the  diamonds  of  brightness. 

Thou  hast  fallen,  with  thy  ripe  fruit  of  glory  around  thee, 
At  the  moment  when  victory  was  rushing  to  crown  thee  ; 
When  Death,  like  a  fierce  wolf  by  slaughter  o'erfeasted, 
Grew  sick  with  the  life-blood  thy  dreadful  hand  wasted. 
Thy  steel  on  the  red  plain  left  many  a  sleeper, 
The  harvest  is  gather'd,  but  where  is  the  reaper  ? 
Woe  !  woe  to  Leath  Mogha — woe  !  woe  to  Leath  Cuinn  !* 
The  victory  has  cover'd  all  Erin  with  ruin. 

Must  the  brave  troops  of  Thomond  return  without  thee  !   ' 

That  strode  to  the  combat,  like  tigers,  about  thee  ? 

And  scour'd  the  dread  field,  with  the  bright  Sunburst  o'er  them, 

Each  a  sea-wave,  and  you,  like  a  tall  ship,  before  them  ; 

Oh  !  fierce  was  their  battle,  when  Morogh  began  it, 

Their  axes  would  shatter  a  mountain  of  granite  ; 

Two  nations  in  arms  would  scarcely  have  stay'd  them, 

In  the  rush  of  their  valour,  when  Morogh  would  lead  them. 

They'll  throng  round  thy  death-couch,  with  swords  grim  and 

gory, 
All  fresh  from  the  work  of  their  harvest  of  glory  ; 
But  thou  shalt  not  see  them,  nor  'wake  from  thy  sleeping, 
At  the  groan  of  their  grief  or  the  wail  of  their  weeping. 
Kinkoraf  may  weep,  but  her  towers  are  not  sounder 
Than  the  halo  of  fame  that  thy  deeds  have  flung  round  her  ; 
Long  shall  Valour  remember,  and  Freedom  regret  thee  ! 
But  the  widows  of  Denmark  shall  never  forget  thee  ! 

Oh  !  Hand  of  Munificence — Foot  of  Agility  ! 

Heart  of  Benevolence  !  Soul  of  Nobility  ! 

Unbounded  in  valour  !  unrivall'd  in  daring  ! 

Iron  tower  in  the  van  of  the  armies  of  Erin  ! 

Could  you  'wake  to  behold  the  Ipv'd  land  you  defended —   ' 

The  land  where  the  reign  of  thy  father  was  splendid ; 

The  land  which  you  fought  for,  in  battle  defiant, 

And  clove  with  thy  broad  axe  the  iron-clad  giant. 

*  The  two  divisions  of  the  Kingdom  of  Ireland  made  between  Mogha 
Nugat,  or  Eogain  More,  King  of  Munster,  and  Conn  of  the  Hundred  Battles. 
Leath  Mogha  signifies  Mogha' s  half,  and  Leath  Cuinn,  Conn's  half. 

t  The  palace  of  Brian,  which  stood  on  the  bank  of  the  Shannon,  near 
Killaloe.  It  was  twice  destroyed,  first  by  MacLoughlin,  Prince  of  Aileach, 
and  secondly  by  Torlogh  O'Connor,  King  of  Connaught.  See  a  deHcription 
of  it«  destruction  in  this  volume.  No  vestige  of  it  now  remains,  except 
the  circular  mound,  supposed  to  be  a  part  of  the  great  banquet-hall. 


38  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

From  your  grave,  which  the  long  grass  of  ages  has  shaded, 
Could  you  wake,  to  behold  her  now  sunk  and  degraded  ! 
You'd  shrink  from  the  vile  sight  of  bondage  before  you, 
And  call  on  the  tomb  shades  again  to  close  o'er  you. 
Gone — gone  from  Green  Eire  are  her  spirits  of  boldness, 
But  the  Saxon  is  there  with  corruption  and  coldness  ; 
And  those  who  would  fling  from  her  neck  the  curst  halter, 
Are  treated  as  felons,  or  bann'd  from  the  altar. 

The  Isle  of  the  Brave  is  a  graveyard  and  prison, 
Where  the  cottage  has  sunk,  and  the  poorhouse  has  risen ; 
And  the  people  of  God  are  swept  off  and  replaced, 
In  the  land  of  their  love,  by  the  boor  and  the  beast ; 
Black  Famine  is  yearly  commission'd  to  slay  them  ; 
>And  those  whom  they  look  to  for  justice,  betray  them ; 
No  Prophet — no  Saviour — no  gleam  of  salvation 
To  rouse  or  redeem  the  dead  soul  of  the  nation. 


SHANNON'S  SPANGLED  BANKS  AND  BOWERS. 

Shannon's  spangled  banks  and  bowers 

Are  beautiful  to  see,  Mary  ! 
Shannon's  fragrant  fields  and  flowers 

Are  beautiful  to  me,  Mary  ! 
But  beauty's  light  more  soft  reposes 
On  thy  dimpled  cheek  of  roses, 
Where  the  blush  of  love  discloses 

Brighter  charms  in  thee,  Mary. 
Lo  !  the  rich  May-sunset's  beaming, 
And  its  red  gold  tinge  is  gleaming, 
Where  the  folded  flowers  are  dreaming,' 

O'er  the  bowery  lea,  Mary  ! 

Come  by  Shannon's  pale  blue  wave, 

Fresh  and  pure  as  thou,  Mary  ! 
And  the  roseate  lips  of  eve 

Shall  kiss  thy  virgin  brow,  Mary  ! 
Come — Love's  vestal  star  is  glowing, 
And  the  woodland  flower-balm  flowing ; 
And  the  cool,  fresh  May-wind,  blowing, 

Scarcely  waves  a  bough,  Mary  ! 
Come — the  twilight  sweets  invite  us  ; 
Summer's  vernal  scenes  delight  us  ! 
Nature's  beauty  shall  requite  us, 

For  our  wanderings  now,  Mary  ! 

Day,  on  the  crimson  verge  of  heaven, 

Has  left  his  golden  zone,  Mary  ! 
See  the  blushing  face  of  even, 

Is  rosy  as  thine  own,  Mary  ! 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  39 

Mark,  an  azure  shadow  lowers 

O'er  old  Luimnoch's  flood-girt  towers  ; 

Where  King  William's  banded  powers 

Were  foil'd,  and  overthrown,  Mary  ! 
There,  'mid  ruin's  red  hail  teeming, 
Limerick's  glorious  blue-eyed  women  ! 
Turn'd  the  fight,  and  dashed  the  foemen 

From  the  noble  town,  Mary  ! 

Heard  you  how  the  heroines  stood 

Before  the  flaming  balls,  Mary  ? 
Beauty  shed  her  purest  blood, 

Fighting  for  those  walls,  Mary  ! 
Heaven  and  earth  have  heard  the  story — 
See  those  fields,  once  damp  and  gory  ! 
There  was  Valour  link'd  with  Glory, 

Marching  to  her  halls,  Mary  ! 
And — but  Treachery  betrayed  her — 
'Midst  the  conquests  that  array'd  her  ! 
Never  would  the  false  Invader 

Stand  within  her  walls,  Mary  ! 

At  the  tale,  thy  cheek's  wild  rose 

Beams  more  fresh  and  bright,  Mary  ! 
And  thy  sparkling  blue  eye  glows 

With  a  lovelier  light,  Mary  ! 
Would'st  thou  meet  the  cannon's  flashing  ? 
Stand  before  the  war-ranks  dashing  ? 
Brave  the  gory  falchions'  clashing  ? 

For  poor  Erin's  right,  Mary  ! 
But  thy  fair,  white  breast  may  nourish 
Sons,  who  will  their  country  cherish  ! 
And,  for  her  the  bright  steel  flourish, 

Yet,  in  Freedom's  fight,  Mary  ! 


COME  TO  THE  MOUNTAINS. 

Now  Summer  is  green  o'er  the  vale,  and*  the  mountain-grove, 

The  lily  is  white  in  the  woodland,  so  airy, 
Come,  let  us  wander  by  Callan's  blue  fountain,  love  ! 
Come,  in  thy  blushes,  my  beautiful  Mary  ! 

Maid  of  the  shining  locks  ! 

Come  to  the  flowery  rocks  ! 
Come  to  the  hills  where  the  sunbeam  reposes  ! 

'Mid  Nature's  wild  grandeur, 

We'll  joyfully  wander, 
By  Callan's  blue  wave,  and  its  banks  of  wild  rosea. 


40  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  brier's  snowy  blossom  the  dale  is  adorning  ! 

O'er  flower-scented  wold  trips  the  light-footed  fairy  ! 
The  blue  mist  is  pluming  the  helmet  of  morning, — 
Nature  looks  sweet  like  my  beautiful  Mary ! 

Maid  of  the  beamy  eyes  ! 

Soft  as  the  sunny  skies  ! 
Thy  love-sharing  smiles  are  like  honey  on  roses  ! 

Thy  foot  falls  as  light 

As  the  silver  of  night, 
That  gleams  on  the  moss  where  the  heath-flower  reposes. 

The  sweet  morning  work  of  the  dairy  is  done,  love ! 

Thou'rt  free  for  a  while  from  thy  rural  employment ; 
Thy  butter  is  made  and  thy  flax  is  all  spun,  love ! . 
A  stroll  thro'  the  meadows  will  give  thee  enjoyment ! 

I'll  slip  thro'  the  corn, 

And  wait  near  the  thorn 
That  o'er  the  bright  well  waves  its  green,  dewy  shadow ; 

And,  lest  any  should  mind — 

Keep  a  sharp  look  behind, — 
Steal  round  the  boreen,  and  we'll  meet  in  the  meadow. 

I'll  gather  the  blue-bells,  to  wreathe  thy  dark  ringlets, 

Near  the  streams,  where  the  white  water-lilies  are  sleeping 
We'll  pluck  the  pale  rose,  where  the  zephyr's  light  winglets, 
The  fresh  flowery  side  of  the  wild  Lake,  are  sweeping. 

Then  come  to  the  mountain's 

Dark  glens,  and  bright  fountains  ! 
And,  we'll  trace  on  the  red  heath  the  rings  of  the  fairy  ! 

And  I'll  tell  you  a  story 

Of  Erin's  past  glory  ! 
As  we  wander  together,  my  beautiful  Mary ! 


BRIAN'S  LAMENT  FOR  KING  MAHON. 

Lament,  O  Dalcassians  !  the  Eagle  of  Cashel  is  dead  ! 
The  grandeur,  the  glory,  and  joy  of  her  Palace  is  fled ! 
Your  strength  in  the  battle — your  bulwark  of  valour  is  low  ! 
But  the  fire  of  your  vengeance  shall  fall  on  the  murderous  foe ! 

His  country  was  mighty — his  people  were  blest  in  his  reign, 
But  the  ray  of  his  glory  shall  never  shine  on  them  again ; 
Like  the  beauty  of  summer,  his  presence  gave  joy  to  our  souls, 
When  the  Bards  sung  his  deeds  at  the  banquet  of  bright  golden 
bowls. 

Ye  maids  of  Temora,  whose  rich  garments  sweep  the  green 
•lain! 


plain! 
>  chiefs  of 


Ye  chiefs  of  the  Sunburst,  the  terror  and  scourge  of  the  Dane ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  41 

Ye  gray-hair'd  Ard  ffileas!  whose  songs  fire  the  blood  of  the 

brave ! 
Oh !  weep,  for  your  Sun-Star  is  quenched  in  the  night  of  the 

grave  ! 

He  clad  you  with  honors — he  fill'd  your  high  hearts  with  de- 
light ! 

In  the  midst  of  your  councils  he  beam'd,  in  his  wisdom,  and 
might ! 

Gold,  silver,  and  jewels  were  only  as  dust  in  his  hand  ! 

But  his  sword,  like  a  lightning-flash,  blasted  the  foes  of  his  land! 

Oh,  Mahon  !  my  brother  !  we've  conquer'd  and  marched,  side 

by  side, 
And  you  were  to  the  love  of  my  soul  as  a  beautiful  bride  ! 
In  the  battle,  the  banquet,  the  council,  the   chase,  and  the 

throne, 
Our  beings  were  blended — our  spirits  were  filled  with  one  tone! 

Oh,  Mahon  !   my  brother  !  you've  died,  like  the  hind  of  the 

wood  ! 
The  hands  of  assassins  were  red  with  thy  pure,  noble  blood  ! 
And  I  was  not  near,  my  beloved !  when  you  were  o'erpower'd, 
To  steep  in  their  hearts'  blood  the  steel  of  my  blue-beaming 

sword  I 

I  stood  by  the  dark,  misty  river,  at  eve,  dim  and  gray, 
And  I  heard  the  death-cry  of  the  Spirit  of  gloomy  Craighlea  ;* 
She  repeated  thy  name,  in  her  wild  caoine  of  desolate  woe  ! 
Then  I  knew  that  the  Beauty  and  Joy  of  Clan  Tail  was  laid 
low! 

All  day  and  all  night  one  dark  vigil  of  sorrow  I  keep  ! 

My  spirit  is  bleeding  with  wounds  that  are  many  and  deep  ! 

My  banquet  is  anguish,  tears,  groans,  and  the  wringing  of 

hands, 
In  madness  lamenting  my  Prince  of  the  gold-hilted  brands  ! 

*  Craighlea,  near  Killaloe,  was  supposed  to  be  the  dwelling-place  of  Oeb- 
hinn,  the  Banshee  of  the  Dalgais.  When  any  distinguished  member  of  the 
Clan  was  near  death,  her  caoine,  or  funeral  cry,  is  said  to  be  most  distress- 
ing, and  full  of  wild  melancholy  pathos.  She,  according  to  tradition,  wrapt 
Dunlaing  O'Hartagain  in  a  magical  cloud,  in  order  to  'prevent  his.  joining 
the  battle  of  Clontarf .  But  the  Chief  made  his  way  to  Morogh,  son  of 
Brian,  who  reproached  him  for  [delaying  from  the  conflict.  O'Hartagain 
related  the  circumstance  of  his  interview  with  Oebhinn,  and  brought  Mor- 
rogh  to  where  she  was.  In  a  conversation  which  ensued,  she  foretold  the 
disasters  of  the  fight,  and  mentioned  the  names  of  all  the  great  Chiefs 
destined  to  fall  on  the  field  that  day.    Thus  ran  her  prophecy  :— 

"  Brian  shall  fall,  Morogh  shall  fall !  &c.  &c, 

But  woe  to  the  wearers  of  the  shirts  of  iron ! 

Woe  to  Brodair  of  the  black  shining  hair ! 

Woe  to  Mealmordha,  the  shedder  of  blood ! 

The  clouds  shall  be  rent  with  the  cries  of  widows ! 

The  hosts  of  the  North  shall  be  covered  with  death !"  &c.  Sec. 
4 


42  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

0  God  !  give  me  patience  to  bear  the  affliction  I  feel! 
But  for  every  hot  tear  a  red  blood-drop  shall  blush  on  my  steel ! 
For  every  deep  pang  which  my  grief -stricken 'spirit  has  known, 
A  thousand  death-wounds,  in  the  day  of  revenge,  shall  atone  ! 


REQUIEM  FOR  KING  MAHON.* 

A  BARDIC  DIRGE. 

There's  gloom  in  the  house  of  the  golden  swords  ! 

And  the  sky  has  a  fiery  stain  ! 
And  the  sons  of  the  mighty,  like  maidens  weep, 

For  the  Prince  of  the  people  is  slain  ! 
0  Cashel !  where  is  thy  bright-hair'd  King  ? 

The  brother  of  princely  Brian  ! 
Has  the  Wolf-Dog  of  Desmond  lapp'd  the  blood 

Of  Kincora's  proud  war-lion  ? 

The  white-robed  Fairy  of  the  Hill 

Sings  her  death-wail  of  despair, 
And  the  snow-brow'd  daughters  of  princes  rend 

Their  sun-clouds  of  beamy  hair. 
For  the  Beautiful  of  their  souls  is  dark  ! 

Their  May  Flower  of  Love  is  chill'd, 
And  the  golden  cup  of  their  wine  of  joy, 

With  burning  tears  is  fill'd. 

Oh  !  Brian  of  the  mighty  arms  ! 

War-eagle  of  host-ridged  fields  ! 
Why  hangs  thy  death-sword  idle 

In  the  hall  of  the  silver  shields  ? 
Thy  march  to  battle  is  heaven's  flash, 

When  it  burns  the  mountain-wood  ; — 
Does  the  fiery  ear  of  thy  vengeance  hear 

The  cry  of  thy  brother's  blood  ? 

And  Brian  loved  the  dark-eyed  King  ! 

As  the  hawk  loves  the  gold-orb'd  sky  ! 
Then  why  should  Mahon,  unavenged, 

Like  the  elk  of  the  wild  hills,  die  ? 

•  "  Mahon,  the  brother  of  the  illustrious  Brian  Boroimhe,  surnamed  Ken- 
nedy, was  murdered  on  the  Mushera  Mountain,  near  Macroom.  He  was 
betrayed  by  Donovon,  son  of  Cahal,  ancestor  of  the  O'Donovans,  and  de- 
livered into  the  hands  of  Molloy,  son  of  Bran,  ancestor  of  the  O'Mahonys. 
who  basely  commissioned  his  people  to  put  him  to  death,  because  he  envied 
his  greatness  and  the  growing  power  of  the  Dalgais.  King  Mahon  deserved 
a  better  fate  ;  he  was  a  noble  and  worthy  monarch,  a  munificent  patron  of 
learning  and  piety,  and  an  incessant  scourge  to  the  Danish  invaders,  over 
whom  he  gained  many  brilliant  victories  (in  conjunction  with  his  brother 
Brian),  especially  the  celebrated  victory  of  Sulchoid,  where  five  thousand 
of  the  Northmen,  with  their  bravest  commanders,  were  slain.  The  remnant 
of  the  Danish  host  fled  into  Limerick,  fiercely  pursued  by  the  victors,  who 
burned  the  city,  and  demolished  the  fortifications,  slaying  at  the  same  time 
the  fugitive  Danes  in  great  numbers.  The  conquerors  found  in  the  town 
an  immense  booty  of  gold,  silver,  and  jewels,  which  the  generous  Mahon 
divided  among  his  soldiery."—  Keating. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  43 

God's  curse  on  the  hand  of  the  son  of  Bran  ! 

Whose  murderous  steel  cut  down 
The  topmost  bough  of  our  Royal  Tree, 

With  its  glory-blossom'd  crown  ! 

Clan  Tail  of  the  red  destroying  brands  ! 

There's  revenge  in  your  orbs  of  fire  ! 
And  wrath  on  your  brows,  like  the  dark-lined  clouds 

That  foster  the  Wind-God's  ire. 
And  the  flaming  points  of  your  cleaving  swords 

Shall  smoke  in  the  wine-red  spring 
Of  the  venom'd  blood  of  the  traitors'  hearts, 

That  murder'd  your  noble  King  ! 

Remember  the  field  of  red  Sulchoid  ! 

And  Luimneach's  blazing  towers, 
Where  the  hot  heart-streams  of  the  Sea-Kings  gush'd, 

Like  the  thunder's  burning  showers  ; 
And  Torrell's  shield,  like  an  iron  moon, 

By  the  hand  of  our  King  was  broke ; 
And  the  enemy  flew  from  his  sweeping  steel, 

Like  grain  from  the  thresher's  stroke  ! 

In  the  blood-rain  of  that  stormy  field, 

Fought  Mahon  and  Brian,  all  day  ; 
And  their  lofty  plumes,  like  two  wind-rock'd  pines, 

Were  seen  'mid  the  steely  sea  : 
Together  they  beam'd  on  the  ridge  of  war, 

Like  two  suns  in  one  cloudy  sphere — 
Two  eagles  from  one  mountain  nest — 

Two  wolves  from  one  forest  lair  ! 

Open  the  Sunburst  Flag  of  light ! 

There's  a  stain  on  its  beamy  fold ; 
A  fiery  stain,  like  a  bleeding  star, 

On  the  sheen  of  its  airy  gold  ! 
And  that  stain  of  shame  shall  not  be  cleansed, 

Till  'tis  wet  with  the  rain  of  death  ! 
And  hung  o'er  the  reeking  spears  of  Cas, 

To  dry  in  the  War-Goo?s  breath ! 

And  no  songs  shall  be  sung,  nor  red  wine  drank, 

In  the  Palace  of  Golden  Swords  !  * 
Till  the  grinding  steel  of  our  Chiefs  shall  feast 

In  the  blood  of  Desmond's  Lords  ! 

♦"The  gold-hilted  swords.  The  Dalcassians  wore  gold  wire  around  the 
hilts  of  their  swords,  by  way  of  ornament,  which  often  had  the  effect  of  in- 
flaming the  blood  and  swelling  their  hands  in  the  heat  of  conflict.  The 
awful  swelling  which  disabled  Morogh's  hand  and  arm,  at  Clontarf ,  may  be 
traced  to  the  great  amount  of  gold  wire  on  the  hilt  of  his  ponderous  sword, 
and  on  the  handle  of  his  destructive  battle  axe. 


44  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Saint  Columb's  curse  on  the  dark  Molloy, 

Is  before  the  Throne  divine  ; 
And  his  grave  shall  be  made  on  the  cold  hill-side  * 

Where  the  sun  shall  never  shine  ! 


THE  FLOWER  OF  LIMERICK. 

Sweet  are  Glenomera's  woods  in  May, 

When  Nature's  choir  is  full  in  tune  ; 
And  sweet  on  Truagh's  hills  to  stray 

Among  the  crimson  bells  of  June  ! 
But  sweeter  far,  when  summer's  eve 

Wraps  earth  to  sleep  in  golden  shades, 
To  meet,  by  Shannon's  moon-lit  wave, 

The  queenly  flower  of  Limerick  maids. 

When  first  her  beauty  thrill'd  my  view, 

My  heart  I  struggled  to  control ; 
While,  like  a  shower  of  honey-dew, 

Her  smiles  fell  on  my  charm'd  soul ! 
All  in  a  dreamy  trance  I  lay, 

In  Monabraher's  flowery  shades, 
And  thought  some  fay  had  cross'd  my  way, 

From  green  Killeely's  haunted  glades  ! 

'Tis  not  her  bright  face  I  admire, 

'Tis  not  her  wild,  blue  wizard  eye  ; 
But  'tis  her  mind  whose  virgin-fire 

Was  brought  by  angels  from  the  sky  ! 
Tho'  Peggy's  smile  is  sweet  to  me, 

And  Norah's  glance  my  heart  invades ; 
I'd  give  them  all  to  gaze  on  thee, 

Oh  !  radiant  queen  of  Limerick  maids  ! 

When  Nature  with  delight  espy'd 

The  maiden's  beaming  face  of  love  ; 
"This  is  my  masterpiece  !"  she  cried, 

"  I  can  no  more  my  work  improve  !" 
With  joy  and  admiration  wild, 

44  She's  my  soul's  likeness  !"  Beauty  said  ; 
"  Oh !  yes  and  she's  my  bosom's  child !" 

Cried  Virtue,  clinging  round  the  maid  ! 

*  "And  the  holy  priest  predicted  that  Molloy  Mac  Bran  would  come  to  an 
evil  end,  and  he  wept  and  cursed  him  bitterly  for  the  murder  of  Mahon 
Mac  Ceineidighe,  and  he  said  the  grave  of  Molloy  would  be  on  that  very  hill 
where  the  bloody  deed  was  committed,  and  the  sun  would  never  shine  on  it. 
4.nd  in  some  time  after,  Molloy  became  blind  and  was  slain,  in  a  wretched 
htU;,  and  his  body  was  buried  on  the  north  side  of  the  mountain  where  the 
sun  never  shines  on  his  grave."— Annals  of  the  Four  Masters. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  46 

The  rich  man's  daughter  proudly  goes 

In  glittering  silk  and  showy  gold  ; 
But  wealth  and  art  her  charms  compose 

And  all  for  wealth  her  heart  is  sold. 
The  haughty  lordling,  at  her  feet, 

His  love,  with  cold  refinement,  pleads. 
While  true  admirers  come  to  greet 

The  graceful  Flower  of  Limerick  maids. 

When  morning  clears  her  misty  brow, 

And  gently  opes  her  dreamy  eye, 
Night  faints  before  the  roseate  glow 

Of  her  bright  sunburst  in  the  sky, 
Thus  from  thine  eye's  soft  silvery  dart 

The  cold  gloom  of  my  bosom  fades  ; 
And  joy  and  sunshine  fill  my  heart, 

Before  the  Flower  of  Limerick  maids. 

KING  DONALD'S  DAUGHTER.*  . 

A  LEGEND   OF   THE   SHANNON. 

The  martial  King  Donald  o'er  Luimnoch  reign'd, 

And  the  cause  of  his  country  with  valour  sustain'd  ; 

And  in  many  a  fierce  battle  and  bloody  foray, 

From  the  grasp  of  the  false  Saxon  wrested  his  prey. 

A  hundred  bright  shields  in  his  proud  palace-halls — 

The  spoils  of  red  battle-fields— flash'd  on  the  walls  ! 

A  hundred  rich  golden  cups  blazed  on  his  board, 

When  he  call'd  to  the  banquet  the  Sons  of  the  Sword  ; 

And  a  hundred  sweet  harps  at  his  revels  were  strung 

And  proud  were  the  war-songs  his  Irish  bards  sung. 

Fleet  were  his  war-steeds,  as  spirits  of  air, 

When  they  swept  o'er  the  green  plains  of  Limerick  and  Clare, 

With  their  long-bearded  riders,  and  silver-starr'd  reins, 

And  rich  golden  housings  and  wild  streaming  manes. 

Ah  !  woe  to  the  Norman,  relentless  and  stern ! 

Who  stood  in  the  path  of  his  strong-handed  "kern," 

When,  on  the  grim  slaughter-field,  charging,  amain, 

They  swept,  like  a  torrent  of  fire,  o'er  the  plain. 

But  the  Star  of  Green  Erinn's  high  chivalry  died  ! 

Alas  !  for  h&r  glory — alas !  for  her  pride ! 

And  that  dread  Chief — the  scourge  of  invaders  no  more — 

Sleeps  sound,  in  the  dust,  'neath  Saint  Mary's  gray  tower,  t 

King  Donald's  bright  daughter  was  fair  Kathaleen, 
The  Swan  of  the  Shannon,  and  Beauty's  young  Queen ; 
Light  was  her  form— majestic  her  step, 
And  sweet,  as  the  new  rose  of  summer,  her  lip  : 

*  Tradition  tells  that  this  beautiful  young  lady  was,  during  many  years. 

a,  somnambulist.  *>*.*» 

+  Some  historians  state  that  King  Donald  was  buried  in  Holycross  Abbey.. 


46  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Dewy  her  eye  of  love — sunbeams  her  hair, — 
Honey- drops  were  her  words — regal  her  air ! 
Gentleness,  tenderness,  dignity,  grace, 
,    Lived  in  her  spirit,  and  beam'd  in  her  face. 

But  why  steals  she,  at  night,  from  her  father's  dark  towers, 
To  seek,  in  her  light  skiff,  yon  lone  Island-bowers  ? 
Tho'  the  rain  may  descend,  and  the  winds  whistle  loud, 
Or  red  lightnings  leap  from  the  skirts  of  the  cloud  ; 
Yet  she  stems  the  wild  flood,  where  its  white  eddies  boil 
Round  the  dark,  rocky  shores  of  Saint  Thomas's  Isle. 
'Twas  said  that  the  fairies  had  haunted  her  bed, 
And  fill'd,  with  their  wild  spells,  her  heart  and  her  head  ; 
For  in  all  her  lone  wanderings,  at  night,  on  the  deep, 
The  beautiful  Princess,  'twas  said,  was  asleep. 
And  night  after  night,  the  white  lady  was  seen 
To  haunt  the  wild  flood,  and  the  Island  so  green  ; 
And  the  fisherman  shook  on  the  river's  dark  side, 
When  he  saw  her  drift  by,  like  a  ghost,  on  the  tide. 

Young  Fergus  MacMahon  woo'd  the  fair  Kathaleen, 
And  with  smiles  she  received  the  proud  Chief  of  Tireen ; 
And  the  haughty  King  Donald,  complacently  smiled, 
Well-pleased,  at  the  choice  of  his  beautiful  child. 
The  bridal  day  dawned,  and  the  wedding  guests  met, 
And  the  grand,  nuptial  feast,  in  the  palace,  was  set ; 
At  Saint  Mary's  high  altar,  the  bridegroom  and  bride, 
In  regal  magnificence,  kneel  side  by  side. 
The  Ladies  admire  the  young  Chief  of  Tireen, 
And  the  Lords  pour  encomiums  on  fair  Kathaleen. 
As  the  stately  arbutus,  with  blossoms  all  white, 
Appears  in  the  gold  of  the  rich  summer  light ; 
Thus,  before  the  grand  altar,  so  graceful  was  she, 
As  fair  as  the  blossoms — as  straight  as  the  tree. 
O'er  her  proud,  queenly  shoulders  a  soft  falluinn*  flow^, 
That  richly,  with  damask'd  embroidery,  glow'd ; 
And  its  long,  golden  fringe  shed  a  twilight  around 
Her  white,  fairy  feet,  like  twin  pearls  on  the  ground. 
On  her  bosom  a  bright,  star-like  jewel  she  wore, 
That  once  graced  the  nuptials  of  happy  Queen  More :  t 
And  a  crownlet  of  gems  o'er  her  sunny  hair  shone, 
Like  the  rainbow  of  noon  o'er  the  dreamy  clouds  thrown. 
Behold  the  proud  bridegroom, — how  lordly  his  glance — 
As  fix'd  as  a  tower,  and  as  tall  as  a  lance ; 
His  spirit's  nobility  bursts,  with  a  glow, 
On  the  rose  of  his  cheek,  and  the  snow  of  his  brow. 

*  A  mantle  worn  by  the  women  of  ancient  Erin. 

t  More,  the  daughter  of  O'Hine,  King  of  West  Connaught,  was  Brian 
Boroimhe's  first  wife,  and  the'mother  of  his  invincible  son,  Morogh.  Thia  lady- 
was  eminently  distinguished  for  her  beauty,  her  charity,  and  her  humility  ; 
not  so  his  second  wife,  Gormley,  sister  to  the  King  of  Leinster.  She  was 
rain,  vindictive,  and  intriguing,  and  was  the  main  cause  of  fomenting  the 
Battle  of  Clontarf,  on  account  of  the  loss  of  a  silver  button. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF   THOMOND.  47 

His  eye,  which  now  sparkles  with  tender  desire, 
But  reveals  half  the  blaze  of  its  summer-noon-fire; 
And  his  hand,  gently  pressing  fair  Kathaleen's  hand, 
Would  shiver  the  best  Norman  mail  in  the  land. 

The  ceremony's  ended — they're  one  evermore, — 
And  the  pageantry,  splendid,  proceeds  from  the  door ; 
The  sweet  bridal  anthem  the  silver  bells  rung, 
And  the  harps,  in  the  palace,  responsively  sung ; 
Gay  flowers  shed  their  odours,  and  banners  wave  bright, 
And  the  city  resounds  with  one  song  of  delight ; 
The  wedding  boards  bend  with  the  luxurious  fare, 
Rich  sirloins  of  beef,  from  the  pastures  of  Clare ; 
Golden  bowls  sparkled  high,  with  the  grapes'  blushing  rain 
From  France,  and  the  bright,  sunny  vineyards  of  Spain. 
All  night  the  gay  palace  resounded,  and  rung 
With  the  toast,  and  the  laugh,  and  the  dance,  and  the  song; 
But  when  the  great  bell  of  the  Abbey  *  toll'd  one, 
The  bridesmaidens  whisper'd,  "The  Princess  is  gone  I" 
And  they  look'd  on  each  other,  in  silence,  and  sigh'd, 
When  they  heard  the  proud  Fergus  inquire  for  his  bride. 
But  the  chief  turn'd  pale  when  her  old  nurse  drew  near 
And  related  some  mysterious  tale,  in  his  ear ; 
Without  cochalf  t  or  barrad,  he  sprung  from  the  door, 
And  rush'd,  in  his  grief,  to  the  dark  river  shore. 
Wild  was  the  night,  and  the  wind  whistled  shrill, 
And  the  rain-torrent  leaped,  with  a  dash,  from  the  hill; 
And  the  wide-spreading  Shannon,  deep,  swoll'n  and  strong, 
In  a  mantle  of  darkness,  rush'd  roaring  along. 
Thro'  the  dense  pitchy  gloom,  green  and  red  meteors  glanced, 
The  fitful  blast  piped  and  the  dark  forest  danced ; 
And  the  wild,  leaping  river  show'd  many  a  white  ridge, 
Where  its  swift  flood  was  broken,  at  Thomond's  old  bridge. 
'Mid  the  howl  of  the  storm,  the  fair  Kathaleen, 
All  alone  on  the  bank  of  the  Shannon  is  seen ; 
She  unmoors  her  frail  boat  from  the  shore's  slanting  side, 
And  drives  off  'mid  the  rage  of  the  wave-crested  tide. 
Like  the  bright  river  Genius,  with  proud  unconcern, 
She  plies  her  light  paddle,  and  sits  in  the  stem ; 
And  the  waves — as  if  glad  of  the  burden  they  bore — 
Kiss'd  her  hand,  and  then  leap'd,  with  a  song,  to  the  shore. 
To  the  channel's  dark  centre  she  fearlessly  drove, 
As  if  wildly,  with  darkness  and  danger,  in  love ; 
Good  heavens !  what  nuptials !  the  storm  and  tide 
All  fiercely  contending  to  dance  with  the  bride. 

*  The  ancient  Abbey  of  St.  Francis,  which  stood  in  the  locality  that  still 
bears  its  name.  The  old  County  Courthouse,  now  a  deserted  ruin,  was  built 
on  the  site  of  this  celebrated  Abbey.  It  was  ornamented  with  a  beautiful 
steeple,  which  contained  a  core  of  fine  bells. 

t  Cochal  was  the  mantle  of  the  ancient  Irish ;  the  barrad  was  their  headr 
dress  or  cap. 

A  part  of  the  walls  of  King  Donald's  Palace  is  still  standing  in  the 
Vicinity  of  the  old  town,  near  St.  Mary's  Cathedral. 


48  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

On  the  brown  shore  the  bridegroom,  mute,  motionless,  stood, 

With  his  flashing  eye  piercing  the  gloom  of  the  flood ; 

Has  his  dreaming  soul  roam'd  thro'  the  shadows  of  night, 

Presenting  this  dark  scene  of  awe  $o  his  sight  ? 

Has  some  phantom  allured  him  ?     Oh  !  no,  'tis  his  bride, 

He  sees,  all  alone,  on  that  dread  midnight  tide  : 

While,  breathlessly  gazing,  he  thought  the  rough  blast, 

That  brush'd  the  dark  waters,  would  sink  her  at  last. 

On  she  drives,  and  young  Fergus,  upon  the  dark  shore, 

In  silence,  keeps  pace  with  the  dip  of  her  oar  ; 

While  her  skiff'  o'er  the  billows  danced  gracefully  on, 

With  the  light,  careless  ease  of  the  silvery  swan. 

Oft  he  thought  she  was  lost,  as  the  sable-veil'd  night, 

'Mid  the  valley  of  waves,  hid  her  form  from  his  sight ; 

'Till,  tossed  on  the  crest  of  the  black  surge,  on  high, 

The  flash  of  her  jewels  blazed  full  on  his  eye. 

Now  the  wind-beaten  Isle  of  Saint  Thomas,  *  she  near  d,? 

Thro'  the  rock-lashing  current,  with  judgment,  she  steer 'd  ; 

When  an  angry  squall  rush'd,  with  a  howl,  thro'  the  wood, 

And  tost  her  frail  bark  on  a  rock  'mid  the  flood. 

One  bound,  and  the  Chieftain  is  into  the  tide, 

Ploughing  on,  thro'  the  foam,  towards  the  skiff  of  his  bride  ; 

He  furrows  the  flood,  like  a  wave-cleaving  ship, 

And  spurns  the  spray  of  the  surge  from  his  lip  ; 

With  proud  head  erect,  'gainst  the  torrent  he  toils, 

Which,  around  him,  on  either  side,  furiously  boils  ; 

But,  in  spite  of  the  river's  wild  swiftness  and  strength, 

He  gaind  the  light  skiff  of  the  lady,  at  length. 

He  gazed  in  her  face,  but  she  heeded  him  not, 

As  if  all  that  was  dear  to  her  heart  was  forgot ; 

The  white-rolling  waterfalls  tumbled  around, 

Yet  heedless  she  seem'd,  as  if  born  of  their  sound. 

The  cold  night- wind  sung  in  the  cloud  of  her  hair, 

And  she  look'd,  like  a  ghost,  on  the  dark  billows  there. 

He  grasp'd  her  white  garment,  and  call'd  out  her  name, 

And  she  started,  and  scream'd,  and  sprang  into  the  stream. 

But  he  holds  her  afloat  with  his  powerful  hand, 

And  buffets  the  current,  and  wades  to  the  strand ; 

Yet  the  wild  flood,  as  loath  to  relinquish  its  prey, 

Towards  the  Fall's  boiling  whirlpool  bears  him  away. 

Assist- him,  0  Heaven  !— The  merciless  surge 

Drives  him  on,  like  a  reed,  to  the  torrent's  deep  verge  ; 

Still  he  holds  the  droop'd  head  of  the  lady  away 

From  the  lash  of  the  wave  and  the  chafe  of  the  spray. 


•  This  beautifully  secluded  little  Island  was  once  the  retreat  of  religion. 
In  its  interior  stood  a  small  Abbey,  surrounded  by  a  churchyard,  but  its 
venerable  ruins  were  razed  to  the  ground,  its  graves  desecrated,  and  the 
bones  of  the  dead  thrown  into  the  river,  by  one  of  its  Anglo  Saxon  proprietors, 
after  the  Siege  of  Limerick.  The  sacrilegious  act  brought  a  curse  on  the 
deseerator— not  one  of  his  progeny  ever  inherited  the  l3land. 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  49 

One  plunge — the  Fall's  clear'd — and  one  bold  effort  more — 

The  danger  is  past,  and  he  stands  on  the  shore. 

He  clasps  her  drench'd  form,  with  accents  of  joy, 

Life's  warm  in  her  heart,  and  her  pulses  reply ; 

She  trembles,  and  turns  her  eyes  from  the  stream, 

And  her  spirit  has  broken  the  yoke  of  its  dream. 

Never  more,  at  dark  midnight,  the  lady  was  seen 

To  haunt  that  wild  flood,  and  the  Island  so  green  ; 

But  oft,  in  nights,  after,  when  winds  whistled  drear, 

And  the  roar  of  the  Shannon  'rose  wild  on  her  ear ; 

As  she  sat  by  her  lord,  in  the  grand  palace-room, 

And  laid  on  his  bosom  her  bright  cheek  of  bloom  ; 

She'd  whisper  him  gently,  and  laugh,  with  delight, 

1 '  Say,  Love !  would  you  swim  the  wild  Shannon  to-night  ?" 


THE  DEATH  OF  DONOVAN,*  SON  OF  CAHAL, 

Slain  in  Single  Combat  by  Morogh,  Son  of  Brian. 

A    BARDIC   DIRGE. 

On  the  winds  of  Ui  Fidhgeinte  f  the  death-cry  is  swelling, 
To  the  harp's  weeping  music,  in  Donovan's  dwelling ; 
Where  his  clans,  in  wild  rout,  from  the  battle-field  driven, 
Bear  the  corpse  of  their  King,  with  his  proud  bosom  riven. 

The  Prince  of  Mononia  stands  near,  in  the  glade, 
With  a  frown  on  his  brow,  and  a  stain  on  his  blade  ; 
While  his  fiery  Dalcassians,  all  stalwart  and  stern, 
Like  blood-sated  mountain-wolves,  rest  in  the  fern. 

Towards  the  Palace  of  Helmets  %  his  dark  face  he  turns, 
And  his  eye,  with  the  flash  of  his  proud  spirit,  burns  ; 
But  his  heart  feels  a  pang,  and  his  soul  yields  a  tear, 
As  the  words  of  the  death-song  float  wild  on  his  ear. 

"Like  the  oak  of  the  desert  thy  glory  was  growing ! 
And  the  sunlight  of  fame  on  thy  valour  was  glowing ! 
Thy  sword,  like  a  sunstroke,  swept  squadrons  before  it ! 
Now  a  grass-blade  may  fetter  the  strong  hand  that  bore  it ! 

No  more  shalt  thou  chase  the  brown  deer  on  the  highland — 

Loud  voice  in  the  war-field,  why  art  thou  so  silent  ? 

No  more  shall  the  Bara  Bod's  thunderlike  rattle, 

In  the  flames  of  thy  steel,  rouse  thee  up  to  the  battle ! 

*  Brian  led  a  great  army  into  the  territories  of  Donovan  and  Molloy,  and 
gave  them,  and  their  Danish  allies,  a  terrible  chastisement  for  the  murder  of 
his  brother  Mahon .  Morogh,  his  eldest  son,  then  only  18  years  old,  engaged 
Donovan  hand  to  hand,  and  slew  him. 

fTJi  Fidhsreinfe,  now  Kenry,  was  the  principality  of  Donovan. 

X  Donovan's  Palace. 


50  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  TfiOMOND. 

Oh  !  fierce  was  the  splendour  that  blazed  from  thy  spear ! 
When  Kinkora's  young  war-hawk,  to  combat,  drew  near  ! 
When  breastplate  and  shield,  by  the  mighty  blows  rent, 
Like  fragments  of  light,  on  the  reeling  plain  went.  v 

But,  who  could  encounter  Boroimhe's  furious  son  ? 
How  grimly  he  laugh 'd  when  the  battle  was  won  ! 
When  the  tide  of  thy  breast  dyed  the  steel  of  his  ire, 
And  thy  locks  strew'd  the  dust,  like  a  shower  of  gold  wire  ! 

Give  his  dirge  to  the  blast,  'mid  his  people's  tears  burning, 
Let  his  spirit  ascend  on  the  sound  of  our  mourning  ; 
He  may  pause,  in  his  flight,  o'er  the  mountain-top,  hoary, 
To  take  a  last  look  at  the  field  of  his  glory  ! 

O'er  the  tomb  of  the  warrior  the  eagles  shall  hover, 
Lamenting  his  blood-wasting  battles  are  over ; 
.  For,  where'er  his  red  war  axe  was  lifted  in  anger, 
He  largely  supplied  the  wild  rage  of  th?ir  hunger  ! 

Dread  ghost  of  our  Chieftain  !  where'er  thou  dost  wander 
'Mid  the  winds  of  the  hill,  or  the  Clouds  of  the  thunder  ! 
Fierce  spirits  of  valour  shall  throng  round  thee,  brightening 
With  joy,  stretching  out  their  blue  arms  of  lightning  ! 


MARY  OF  LOCH  REA. 

Air — "  The  Banks  of  sweet  Loch  i?ea." 

'Twas  in  the  golden  harvest-time  when  summer's  roses  fade, 
And  Nature  mourns  her  dying  bloom  in  every  rural  shade, 
I  wander'd  o'er  the  yellow  fields,  as  evening  died  away, 
To  see  the  angel  of  my  heart,  sweet  Mary  of  Loch  Rea  ! 

And  Mary  was  a  gentle  maid,  bright,  beautiful  and  proud ; 
Her  hair  was  like  the  sunny  fringe  of  summer's  show'ry  cloud ; 
Her  mouth,  a  honey-cell  of  smiles — her  face  like  flowery  May, 
And  her  neck  like  winter's  freezing  moon  oh  the  blue  waves 
of  Loch  Rea ! 

I  woo'd  her  long,  and  loved  her  well — she  loved  me  in  return, 
She  was  my  bosom's  summer  rose,  of  love,  without  a  thorn  ; 
But,  oh  !    she  was  too  good  to  live  !  too  bright  on  earth  to 

stay! 
And,  like  the  lovely  star  of  dawn,  she  smiled,  and  pass'd  away! 

I  came  to  the  appointed  place,  but  Mary  was  not  there  ; 
Tne.  evening  dew  lay  undisturb'd  on  blade  and  floweret  fair ; 
3Dhe   shadow  of  some  sad  event  seem'd  dark'ning   o'er   my 

But  yet  I  hoped  I  soon  would  see  my  Mary  of  Loch  Rea. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  51 

The  twilight  star  look'd  from  the  West's  soft  shades  of  gold 

and  green, 
And  whitely  lay  the  silent  mist  upon  the  sleeping  plain; 
When  from  her  lowly  cottage  'rose  a  shriek  of  wild  dismay, 
I  rush'd  within,  and  cold  in  death  was  Mary  of  Loch  Rea. 

The  heart  swell'd  in  my  bosom,  and  the  tear  burst  from  my  eye, 
My  manhood's  spirit  melted,  and  I  join'd  the  wailers'  cry  ; 
I  felt  the  cold,  white  shoud  that  o'er  her  breast  of  lilies  lay, 
But  colder,  in  death's  frozen  sleep,  was  Mary  of  Loch  Rea. 

Oh,  Mary  !  why  did  nature  make  you  beautiful  and  bright  ? 
Or  why  did  beauty  clothe  you  with  her  richest  robe  of  light  ? 
Heaven  grew  jealous  with  the  earth,  and  hurried  you  away — 
The  angels  fell  in  love  with  you,  sweet  Mary  of  Loch  Rea  I 

Oh  !  heart  of  kindness,  mouth  of  smiles,  and  eyes  of  sunny 

light ! 
Alas  !  have  thy  sweet  lips  no  word  of  love  for  me,  to-night  ? 
You'd  always  some  good  news  to  tell,  or  some  kind  word  to  say  ! 
Always,  till  now — my  darling  one — my  wild  rose  of  Loch  Rea! 

And  shall  we  never  meet  again  ?    Oh,  love  !  why  don't  you 

speak  ? 
You  do  not  hear  me,  Mary  !  Oh !  I  wish  my  heart  would  break ! 
Ah  !  love  !  as  you  have  gone  from  me,  I  wrould  not  go  from  you, 
Without,  at  least,  one  dear  and  fond,  affectionate  adieu  ! 

You  loved  the  Blessed  Virgin,  with  a  true,  and  holy  love, 
And  she  took  you  to  her  palace,  in  the  crystal  fields,  above  ; 
You  were  so  lovely,  like  herself,  she  long'd  to  have  you  there, 
Lest,  any  breath  of  earth  would  stain  a  flower  so  bright  and 
fair  ! 

No  more  I'll  hear  your  sweet  song,  in  the  dewy  milking  bawn, 
With  the  kine  all  lowing  round  you,  in  the  pale,  red  light  of 

dawn ; 
Some  other  maid  will  sing  those  songs,  while  you  are  in  the 

clay — 
Oh  !  Blessed  God  !  my  heart  will  break  for  Mary  of  Loch  Rea ! 

As,  in  an  ivory  temple,  chimes  a  sweet-toned  silver  bell, 
The  music  of  your  modest  voice  into  my  heart's  core  fell ! 
The  admiring  angels  heard  its  tones,  jfKd.they  laid  their  sweet 

harps  by, 
And  they  stole  you  off  to  join  them  in  t^e^r  heavenly  songs 

of  joy  !  M 

The  sun  will  miss  the  glory  of  your  glossy;  shining  hair  ! 
The  youths  will  miss  you  from  tne  dance,  on  summer's  evenings 

fair!      " 
The  flowers  will  want  your  faii*y  step  to  shake  their  drops  away ! 
And  I  will  miss  your  smile  of  love,  sweet  Mary  of  Loch  Re*&t, 


52  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

THE  BATTLE  OF  LIMERICK. 

ACHIEVEMENTS   OF  THE   WOMEN. 
A.  D.  1691. 

Let  Grecian  Poets  sing,  with  martial  joy, 

The  fabled  glory  of  immortal  Troy, 

Where  mighty  nations,  for  a  woman,  vain, 

Bled,  in  fierce  battle,  on  the  wasted  plain  ! 

I'll  sing  a  theme,  where  Irish  arms  appear — 

A  theme  to  glory,  and  to  Ireland  dear  ! 

Proud  Limerick's  breach,  where  woman's  hostile  hand 

Smote  the  Invaders  of  her  native  land. 

Inflame  my  soul,  0  Muse !  with  fierce  desire 

To  draw  the  picture,  with  a  touch  of  fire ! 

Unlock  the  past,  and  summon  back  to  life 

The  acts  and  actors  of  that  noble  strife  ! 

On  tower  and  wall  the  stern  defenders  throng, 
Tho'  weak  in  number,  yet  in  spirit  strong ; 
With  sullen  faces  and  suspended  breath, 
They  look  the  heralds  of  approaching  Death. 
Like  iron  statues,  on  the  ramparts  placed, 
Their  reckless  hearts  with  brazen  valour  braced ; 
Grim,  fierce,  determined,  daringly  they  stood, 
Waiting  the  signal  for  the  work  of  blood. 

On  Singail's  plain  the  bold  besiegers  stand, 
Ready  to  charge — impatient  for  command ; 
Ten  thousand  eyes  upon  the  breach  are  turn'd, 
Ten  thousand  hearts  to  leap  within  it  burn'd. 
Swords  rattle,  helmets  flash,  and  cannon  frown, 
And  threaten  vengeance  on  the  stubborn  town. 
All  the  dread  engines  of  destroying  war, 
All  that  a  treacherous  foe  can  plan,  or  dare ; 
All,  all  that  might,  and  ruin,  can  essay, 
Are  to  be  pour'd  on  Limerick  town,  to-day. 

The  signal  guns  the  dreadful  silence  break — 

The  armies  charge — the  tottering  bulwarks  shake — 

Full  on  the  breach  a  surge  of  fire  and  steel 

Drives,  with  a  crash  that  makes  the  city  reel. 

Up  the  defenders,  like  crouch'd  bloodhounds,  sprung, 

And  swords  and  guns,  in  mingled  lightning,  rung; 

Fierce,  in  the  breach,  before  the  foes,  they  stand, 

Antf.  smash  their  ranks,  and  slay  them  hand  to  hand. 

On  came  Dane,  Saxon,  Dutch,  in  banded  swarms, 

Loud  rung  the  steely  thunder  of  their  arms; 

A  bloody  whirlpool  of  destruction  howls 

Round  the  red  fosse,  and  in  the  chasm  rolls. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  53 

Above  the  clang  which  seem'd  the  world  to  rend, 

The  Irish  shouts,  in  sounding  peals,  ascend ; 

As,  dashing  on  the  columns  of  their  foes, 

They  fell,  outnumber'd,  and  o'erpowered  with  blows. 

The  sea  of  combat  heaves,  and  sinks,  and  swells — 

Like  fiery  demons,  leap'd  the  bursting  shells ; 

Grape  shot  and  flaming  balls,  in  blasting  sway, 

Mingled  their  fires,  and  swept  whole  ranks  away ; 

Cannon  and  howitzer  belch'd  red  ruin  'round, 

Gunners  and  guns  lay  shatter'd  on  the  ground. 

Horses  and  riders  backward  reel'd  and  fell, 

The  ramparts  rock'd,  and  blazed  with  fire  and  steel 

As  from  a  hundred  mad  volcanoes  driven, 

Thick  clouds  of  smoke  o'ercast  the  echoing  heaven. 

From  place  to  place,  the  daring  Sarsfield  speeds, 

Firing  his  troops,  and  kindling  mighty  deeds. 

"Oh !  Men  of  Limerick !"  he  loudly  calls, 

"  Stand  to  your  posts,  be  firm,  and  keep  your  walls! 

Now  is  the  time  to  your  old  land  to  prove 

Your  manly  valour,  and  devoted  love ! 

Hear  her,  thro'  me,  to  your  brave  souls  appeal, 

In  this  brave  contest,  for  her  future  weal ; 

Lo !  at  your  doors  the  fierce  invader  stands ! 

Give  him  a  bloody  welcome,  at  your  hands ! 

He  comes  to  trample,  in  his  fraud  and  might, 

Your  ancient  country,  and  her  sacred  right ! 

Now,  all  your  arms  in  valiant  action  join ! 

Remember  Aughrim  and  the  bloody  Boyne ! 

Think  of  your  butcher' d  comrades'  reeking  tombs ! 

Think  of  your  blazing  fanes  and  plunder'd  homes ! 

Think  of  your  mothers,  sisters,  daughters,  wives, 

To  you  they  trust  their  honour  and  their  lives ! 

This  day  your  country,  in  her  gory  shroud, 

Cries  for  the  vengeance  of  your  arms  aloud ! 

Her  life,  her  faith  and  hope  are  in  your  trust  ! 

This  day  she  dies,  or  rises  from  the  dust ! 

All,  all  depend  upon  your  manly  deeds  ! 

And  all  are  ruin'd  if  the  foe  succeeds !" 

Thus,  breathing  his  brave  soul  into  their  souls — 
Fierce,  on  the  foe,  a  double  deluge  rolls ; 
Red  floods  of  ruin  flame  along  the  ground ; 
Trembled  the  towers,  and  roar'd  the  hills  around. 
Upon  the  walls  an  iron  whirlwind  sweeps ; 
Glares  the  grim  breach  with  dead,  in  gory  heaps ! 
Broad  sheets  of  flame,  like  winged  hells,  arise, 
Blaze  o'er  the  fight,  and  vanish  in  the  skies ! 
On  surged  the  mighty  foreign  host,  amain, 
And  inch  by  inch  the  reeking  ground  they  gain : 


54  LAYS   AND    LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

O'er  the  plough'd  mounds  the  driving  columns  pour  ; — 

The  brave  defenders  are  press'd  back  before 

The  overpowering  number  of  their  foes  ; 

But  every  inch  is  bought  with  blood  and  blows. 

Round,  on  the  walls,  the  scaling  ladders  rise 

Forests  of  steel  shoot  upwards  to  the  skies, 

And  bristling  o'er  the  battery's  iron  crest, 

In  whelming  force,  the  Brandenburghers  press  d  ; 

While,  thro'  the  deep  street-passage  of  Saint  John, 

In  one  wild  river,  rolls  the  battle  on  ; 

One  thick,  tremendous  shower  of  burning  rain 

Sweeps  the  scour'd  street,  and  whirls  thro'  every  lane  : 

Earth  rocks  beneath  the  combat's  mighty  wheel ; 

The  turrets  quiver  and  the  houses  reel ! 

But  hark  !  what  deafening  cheer — what  new  war-cry 

Peals  thro'  the  town,  and  sounds  along  the  sky  ? 

What  fresh  reinforcement  swells  the  deadly  tide  ? 

Springs  on  the  foe,  and  bursts  from  every  side  ? 

Limerick  !  behold  thy  daughters !  proud  and  fair  ! 

Like  arm'd  angels,  flying  to  the  war  ! 

They  saw  their  husbands,  brothers,  sweethearts,  all 

Fly  from  the  ramparts,  and  desert  the  wall ; 

And  dashing  forth,  'mid  streams  of  fire  and  blood, 

Attack'd  the  foe,  and  check'd  the  martial  flood. 

A  moment's  silence  still'd  the  awful  scene, 

New  fire — new  vigour  fill'd  the  men  again  ! 

A  double  soul  in  every  man  revives, 

And  on  the  foe,  with  double  might,  he  drives  ! 

Foremost  the  women  press'd,  with  bosoms  bare  ! 

Round  their  white  shoulders  stream'd  their  floating  hair  ; 

With  heavy  stones  the  cuirassiers  they  wound  ! 

And  rattling  plate,  and  crashing  helms  resound. 

Matrons  and  maids,  wives,  widows,  young  and  old, 

In  virtue  peerless,  and  in  danger  bold  ; 

On  the  astounded  ranks,  from  every  side, 

Dash'd,  with  wild  cheers,  and  turn'd  the  furious  tide. 

The  mother  from  her  arms  tost  her  child, 

And  grasp'd  a  stone,  and  joined  the  conflict  wild  ; 

The  maids  threw  by  their  mantles,  with  a  shout, 

And  arm'd  with  missiles,  on  the  host,  sprung  out. 

Now,  with  new  fire,  the  contest  burns  and  roars ; 

And  stones,  and  crags  descend,  in  whistling  showers  ; 

The  helmets  burst,  the  horsemen  fall  around, 

And  swords,  and  muskets  clang  upon  the  ground  ; 

The  plunging  horses,  gored  and  terrified, 

Foam  thro'  the  war,  without  a  hand  to  guide. 

O'er  the  red  street  a  crimson  deluge  falls, 

Warms  the  cold  stones  and  smokes  upon  the  walls  ! 

O'er  the  thick  dead  the  valiant  women  strode, 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  55 

Their  hands,  and  hair,  and  garments  drench'd  with  blood  ; 

Some,  from  the  saddles  hurl  the  cuirassiers, 

Some,  hand  to  hand  o'erthrow  the  musketeers  ! 

The  staggering  ranks  confess'd  the  missile  hail, 

Like  sounding  anvils,  clang'd  the  shatter'd  mail. 

From  end  to  end,  along  the  naming  street, 

Crash'd  the  stone-showers,  and  hiss'd  the  iron  sleet. 

Thro'  the  mad  chaos  of  contending  men, 

Loose,  waving  gowns  and  flying  scarfs  are  seen  ! 

Dane,  Saxon,  Dutch,  in  fierce  confusion  bled — 

The  Shannon  reddened  in  his  silver  bed. 

O'er  the  war's  din  great  Sarsfield's  voice  was  heard, 

As  in  the  van  the  dreadful  chief  appear'd. 

From  Shannon's  passes,  o'er  the  Bridge  of  Baal, 

Rush'd  many  a  knight,  and  many  a  trooper  tall ; 

And  springing  from  their  war-steeds,  sword  in  hand, 

Fell,  with  a  vengeance,  on  the  foreign  band. 

Now  came  the  conflict's  mighty  tug  and  strain, 

And  William's  army  bled  at  every  vein  ! 

Back  to  the  breach  the  bloody  war- wave  turn'd, 

And  town  and  sky  with  flame  and  battle  burn'd. 

As  o'er  some  mountain  river's  rocky  bar 

A  wintry  torrent  leaps,  in  foaming  war  ; 

In  one  stupendous  mass  the  mad  flood  toils, 

And  bounding  onward,  headlong  whirls  and  boils  ; 

Thus,  thro'  the  breach,  in  furious  disarray, 

Leapt  the  wild  combat,  like  a  broken  sea. 

The  match  great  Sarsfield  to  the  mine  applies, 

And  high  thro'  heaven  the  roaring  battery  flies  ; 

Stones,  steel  and  Brandenburghers,  upward  whirl'd, 

In  flaming  atoms,  thro'  the  skies  are  hurl'd  ! 

On  town  and  plain  return'd  the  crashing  showers  ; 

Like  dancing  giants,  sway'd  the  groaning  towers  ; 

The  reeling  houses  shake  their  heads  around, 

And  stoop,  like  drunkards,  towards  the  quivering  ground  ! 

Limerick  is  free — peal  out  St.  Mary's  bells — 
O'er  plain  and  hill  the  joyful  anthem  swells  ! 
Immortal  honour  to  her  daughters  bright 
That  smash'd  the  foe,  and  turn'd  the  scale  of  fight ! 


THE  SARSFIELD  TESTIMONIAL.* 

Oh  !  yes,  'tis  true,  the  debt  is  due,  by  Erin's  children  all, 
Brave  Chief  to  you,  who  never  flew  from  battle  fire,  or  ball ! 
Alas  !  too  long,  the  brave  and  strong  in  stern  oblivion  lies, 
The  glory  of  our  ancient  town — the  Idol  of  her  eyes  ! 

*  This  long-projected  Testimonial  ought  to  be  as  large  as  a  pyramid  when 
completed,  for  the  largest  of  Egypt's  pyramids  was  begun  and  finished 
during  the  same  apace  of  time  the  patrons  of  the  Testimonial  are  only 
talking. 


56  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Oh  !  'twere  a  shame  to  let  his  name,  like  other  names  decay, 
Or  let  the  Earth  forget  his  worth,  like  other  things  of  clay  ; 
But  we  must  see  the  brave  and  free  defender  of  our  walls, 
High  in  the  light  of  sculptured  might,  among  our  homes  and 

halls. 
There  let  him  stand,  with  sword  in  hand,  and  flashing  arms 

of  steel, 
In  bright  array,  as  on  the  day  he  made  the  foemen  reel ; 
And  let  our  eyes,  with  glad  surprise,  the  warlike  sight  enjoy 
Of  him  who  stood,  'mid  fire  and  blood,  our  tyrants  to  destroy. 
Oh  !  Sculptor  !  trace  on  his  bold  face  the  spirit-blaze  which 

shone, 
The  day  he  roll'd  the  flood  of  war  to  Limerick  from  Athlone ; 
As  if,  with  word  and  waving  sword,  he  call'd  on  Limerick's 

men, 
"  My  freeborn  sons !  with  hearts  and  guns,  go  man  yon  breach 

again  ! 
Oh  !  Sculptor  !  show,  on  "his  high  brow,  his  freedom-grasping 

zeal, 
When  Limerick's  streets,  and  brave  old  walls,  blazed  red  with 

fire  and  steel  : 
When,    undismay'd,    with    sweeping    blade  he    clear  d    the 

flaming  town, 
Oh !  show  us  how  his  stalwarth  arm  had  cut  the  foemen  down ! 
Show  us  his  godlike  bearing,  'mid  the  burning  wreck  of  fight ! 
His  loud  command,  and  lifted  hand,  and  blazing  eye  of  light ! 
His  eagle-glance  that,  like  a  lance,  pierced  centre,  rear  and  van ! 
His  form  tall,  revealing  all  the  majesty  of  man  ! 

Let  daring  thought  be  sternly  wrought  in  his  high,  dauntless 

air, 
As  if  the  seed  of  some  great  deed  had  grown  to  action  there  ; 
Like,  on  the  night,   when  his  fierce  might  from  Limerick 

sallied  forth, 
And  swept'the  foe,  at  one  dread  blow,  for  ever  from  the  earth ! 
Show  us  the  grief  that  fill'd  the  chief,  when  with  his  hopes 

betray'd, 
Far,  far  away,  across  the  sea  he  led  the  brave  Brigade  ; 
Show  us  the  blood-gout,  from  his  side,  red-welling  on  his  hand, 
With  his  last  words — "  I  wish  'twere  shed  for  thee,  my  Native 
.     Land  !" 

,r*  

O'NEILL'S    WAR-SONG. 
Air.— "  O'Donnell  Aboo," 

Fierce  is  the  flame  of  the  vengeance  of  Erin, 
When  roused  by  the  blast  of  the  battle  to  shine  ; 

Fierce  is  the  flash  of  her  broadsword  uprearing 
To  strike  for  her  rights  and  her  altars  divine. 


LAYS  AND   LEGHNDS  OP  THOMOND.  57 

Haste — snatch  the  spear  and  shield  I 

Rush  to  the  battle-field  ! 
The  Saxon  is  come  from  the  towers  of  the  Pale  ! 

Sons  of  the  vale  and  glen  ! 

Children  of  mighty  men  ! 
Swell  the  dread  war-note  of  conquering  O'Neill ! 

Lightly  the  Red  Hand  of  terror  is  streaming, 

Like  a  fire-cloud  of  death  on  the  hills  of  Tyrone  ; 
Brightly  the  spears  of  Clan  Connaill  are  gleaming, 
Like  Swilly's  blue  waves  in  the  beams  of  the  sun  : 

Hark  !  the  wild  battle-cry 

Rings  thro'  the  sounding  sky  ! 
Valley  and  mountain  are  blazing  with  steel  ! 

Eagles  and  forest  deer 

Rush  from  the  heights,  with  fear, 
Scared  at  the  war-shout  of  conquering  O'Neill ! 

O'Donnell  descends  from  his  father's  dark  mountains, 
He  comes,  glorious  prince !  to  the  strife  of  the  Gael ; 
He  comes,  like  the  rush  of  his  own  stormy  fountains, 
Sweeping,  impetuous,  o'er  moorland  and  vale. 

On  to  the  Yellow  Ford, 

Chiefs  of  the  flashing  sword  ! 
Charge  the  proud  Sassenach  back  to  the  Pale  ! 

Fierce  to  the  scene  of  blood — 

Wild  as  a  mountain  flood, 
Rush  the  strong  warriors  of  conquering  O'Neill. 

Our  war-shouts  shall  ring  and  our  musket  peals  rattle, 

Our  swords  shall  not  rest  from  their  hot,  bloody  toil ; 
Our  plains  shall  be  drench'd  with  the  red  showers  of  battle, 
Till  the  godless  invaders  are  swept  from  our  soil! 

Pikeman  and  Musketeer! 

Kern  and  Cavalier — 
The  wolves  and  the  ravens  are  scenting  their  meal ! 

Carve  to  them,  red  and  fresh, 

Plenty  of  Saxon  flesh  ! 
Follow  your  princely  chief — conquering  O'Neill. 

Onward,  O'Neill!  with  thy  Red  Hand  of  glory  !  |^ 

Thy  sword  lighteth  thousands  to  conquest  and  fame  7^ 
The  annals  of  Eire  are  emblazed  with  thy  story, 
Her  valleys  are  fill'd  with  the  praise  of  thy  name  ! 
On  with  the  Bloody  Hand ! 
Shake  the  dread  battle  brand — 
Woe  to  the  spoilers  of  Green  Inisfail ! 
Lo  !  theiiSred  ranks  appear — 
Up,  every  gun  and  spear — 
Charge — charge — O'Donnell!  and  conquering  O'Neill! 
5 


58  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  YELLOW  FORD,  a.d.  1598.* 

The  morn,  on  silver  Avonmore,  thro'  cloudless  skies  shone 

down, 
When  Bagnall  led  his  Saxon  powers  from  Armagh's  lofty  town  ; 
And  polish'd  helm  and   fiery  lance,    and  glittering    corslet 

flash'd, 
As  forward,   o'er  the  shining  plain,   the  splendid  squadrons 

dash'd. 

With  bugle-note  and  trumpet- clang,  and  loud  resounding  drum, 
And  red  flags  dancing  in  the  air,  o'er  many  a  gaudy  plume  ; 
In  awful  pomp  of  martial  power  rolls  on  the  hostile  tide 
To  grapple  with  the  fierce  O'Neill,  that  scourge  of  England's 
pride. 

As  pamper' d,  rampant  lions  from  their  iron  cages  freed, 
With  bristling  mane  and  fiery  eye,  pranced  many  a  knightly 

steed  ; 
And  many  a  lord  and  veteran  chief  in  golden  harness  ride, 
And  cuirassier,  and  musketeer,  at  siege  and  foray  tried. 

Now,  towards  the  wild  wood's  branchy  skirt  the  serried  legions 

drew, 
And  in,  to  scour  its  leafy  shades,  the  lighter  horsemen  flew ; 
All  there  is  silent  as  the  night — no  ambuscade  they  find — 
And  onward,  in  their  sounding  march,  the  shining  columns 

wind. 

The  passage's  clear 'd — the  border's  pass'd — the  wood's  green 

heart  is  gain'd, 
When  sudden  on  the  startled  van  a  crushing  volley's  rain'd  ; 
And  fiery  death,  on  leaden  wings,  leaps  out  from  every  shade, 
And  quickly  in  the  reeling  front  a  bloody  gap  is  made. 

Proud  Bagnall  sees  the  vanguard  fall,  and,  spurring  past  the 

flanks, 
Urged  his  black  war-horse,  at  a  bound,  before  the  swaying 

ranks ; 
The  rallied  troops  press'd  on  against  the  storm  of  deadly  hail, 
And  from  the  gloomy  wood  dislodged  the  ambush  of  the  Gael. 

Now  backward  to  the  open  plain  the  skirmishers  retired, 
The  Saxons,  at  their  new  success,  with  sterner  hopes  are  fired  ; 
And  pouring  from  the  forest's  shades  their  firm  and  fierce  array, 
See  Erin's  ranks,  full  in  the  front,  extended  for  the  fray. 

*  Btarl-an-atha  Buidh.  The  mouth  of  the  Yellow  Ford,  near  Armagh 
In  this  great  battle  over  five  thousand  of  the  English  army  was  put  hors 
de  combat. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  59 

High  glitter'd  in  the  flashing  air  their  steady  ridge  of  steel. 
And,  o'er  their  lines,  majestic  stream'd  the  banner  of  O'Neill ; 
And  burnish'd  skein,  and  well  primed  gun,  and  gleaming  axe 

and  lance, 
Present  their  bristling  surge  before  the  Saxon's  stern  advance. 

In  front  of  that  fierce  Irish  host,  all  in  the  level  pass, 

Deep  pits  were  sunk  and  cover'd  o'er  with  fragile  boughs  and 

grass ;  ' 

Irish  traps  for  Saxon  foxes — by  foe  bold  O'Neill  design'd — 
And  their  deep  bottoms,  thickly  s#t,  with  pointed  stakes  were 

lined. 

As  taken  by  surprise,  awhile,  the  scarlet  ranks  stood  still, 
And  on  their  General  fix'd  their  eyes,  as  if  to  read  his  will ; 
He  scann'd  the  order  of  his  foes,  and  cried,  "  My  gallant  men  ! 
Advance  !  and  strike  for  good  Saint  George    and  England's 
Virgin  Queen  /" 

As  shoots  the  booming  thunder  on  the  mountain's  splinter'd 

rock, 
As  bends  the  nodding  city  with  an  earthquake's  sudden  shotfk, 
Thus  o'er  the  hollow  sounding  plain  the  charging  host  drives  on, 
And  in  the  pits  the  formost  ranks  roll  headlong,  horse  and'man. 

A  shout  of  jeering  laughter  thro'  the  Irish  legion  runs, 
And  on  the  baffled  foe  they  hurl'd  the  thunder  of  their  guns ; 
Then,  feigning  well  a  quick  retreat,  drew  backward  on  the  plain, 
To  give  the  raging  Saxons  space  to  make  the  charge  agam. 

All  wild  with  wrath,  the  horsemen  o'er  their  prostrate  com- 
rades spurr'd, 

And  dying  groans,  and  savage  yells,  and  frantic  oaths  are 
heard  ; 

Full  on  the  second  hidden  range  of  deadly  pits  they  sweep, 

And  down  again  roll  steeds  and  men,  crushed,  bruised  and 
buried  deep. 

Now  brave  O'Neill  !   let  loose  thy  clans  !   their  spears  are 

bloodless  yet ! 
Those  spears  that  thirst  in  f oemen's  hearts  their  burning  points 

to  wet ! 
And   down  upon  their  squadrons    sweeps    that    stern    and 

stalwart  band, 
As  leaps  a  mighty  sea-wave,  in  its  madness,  on  the  strand. 

As  tigers,  in  their  flaming  thirst,  surround  a  desert  well, 

So  on  the  reeling  Saxon  host  the  furious  herns  fell ; 

And  spear,  and  sparth,  and  skein,  and  sword  their  reeking 

work  begin  ; 
And  soon  the  English  phalanx,  and  its  iron  wings  grew  thin. 


60  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

The  tall  and  vigorous  Gallowglasses,  with  war-axe  broad  and 

keen, 
Like  hewers  in  the  swinging  groves,  among  the  ranks  are  seen; 
With  flashing  eyes,  and  wrathful  shout,  and  fierce  destructive 

blow, 
Right  onward  thro'  the  opening  host  their  deadly  path  they 

mow. 

As  groans  the  crackling  forest  by  the  polar  tempests  tost, 
The  tangled  combat  sway'd  and  rock'd,  in  stormy  chaos  lost ; 
The  muskets  boom'd,  and  breastplates  clash'd,  and  sounding 

axes  gleam'd 
And  rattling  spears,  and  whistling  shot  in  deadly  whirlwinds 

stream'd. 

Earth's  bosom  seem'd  to  sink  beneath  the  deluge  of  the  fight, 

And  heaven  in  darkness  hid  its  face,  and  closed  its  eye  of 
light ; 

While  roar'd  the  battle's  thunder-blast,  'mid  burning  showers 
of  blood, 

The  echoes  shriek'd,  like  tortured  fiends,  o'er  hill  and  sound- 
ing wood. 

Amid  that  surging  sea  of  death  what  mighty  bosoms  bleed, 
And  daring  hearts  that  lately  swell'd  with  many  a  fearless 

deed  ? 
Rank  after  rank  is  hurl'd  to  earth,  as  wither'd  trees  expire 
Before  the  fierce,  devouring  rage  of  mingled  wind  and  fire. 

The  Milan  armour  flies,  like  glass,  at  every  crashing  blow, 
And  horse  and  foot  commingled,  in  one  frantic  ruin,  grow ; 
Man'gasps  on  man,  wounds  gush  on  wounds,   and  spears  are 

smashed,  like  reeds, 
And    dying    Knights  lie  gash'd  and  crush'd   beneath  ^their 

plunging  steeds. 

But,    hark  !     what  world-rending    crash — with    more    than 

thunder's  knell — 
Has  shook  the  shivering  hills  around,  as  if  a  mountain  fell  ? 
The  Saxon's  powder  waggon  has  exploded  'mid  the  rout, 
And,  thick  as  autumn's  blasted  leaves,  their  ranks  lie  blown 

about. 

Down  swept  the  fierce  O'Donnell  on  the  remnant  of  their  line, 
As  springs  the  scorching  lightning   on  a  grove  of  wither'd 

pine ; 
The  furious  wave  of  ruin  on  the  riven  columns  burst, 
And  fresh,  hot  streams  of  parting  life  cement  the  reeking  dust. 

As  thro'  a  raging  mountain  storm  the  eagle  cleaves  his  way, 
Or  as  the  hungry  panther  thro'  the  desert  seeks  his  prey ;      ' 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  61 

The  fierce  O'Neill  sought  Bagnall,   'mid  the  battle's  rolling 

throng, 
But  Bagnall  lay,  a  gory  corpse,  the  scatter'd  dead  among. 

The  bravest  of  that  host  have  fallen — that  host  so  lately  seen, 
In  glittering  splendour,  winding  thro'  the  forest's  leafy  screen  ; 
Thro'  brake  and  dell,  for  Armagh's  walls,  the  horrid  route  rolls 

on 
Before  the  sweeping  vengeance  of  Tyrone's  pursuing  clan. 

All  sense  of  shame  and  order,  in  their  fearful  flight,  is  lost, — 
Are  those  the  troops  which  form'd,  so  late,  a  stern  and  power- 
ful host? 
Are  those  the  bands  proud  Bagnall  led  to  crush  a  noble  race, 
Now  in  mad  panic,  smash'd  and  gored,  all  flying  in  disgrace  ? 

As  when  a  gather'd  tempest  cloud  impends  and  swells  on  high, 

And  spreads  its  giant  shadow  o'er  the  bosom  of  the  sky, 

Till  it  bursts  and  flies  in  fragments  from  the  storm's  angry 

might, 
So  fled  the  scatter'd  Saxons  from  that  stern  and  bloody  fight. 


GENTLE  NANNIE. 

Now  sunny  April's  vernal  showers 
Besilver  Cuil's  bright  lawn  of  flowers, 
While  love  and  beauty  fill  the  bowers 

Around  my  gentle  Nannie  ; 
Fair  thou  art  as  spring's  young  moon, 

Gentle  Nannie  !  lovely  Nannie  ! 
Sweet  to  me  as  flowery  June, 

My  gentle,  dark-hair'd  Nannie  ! 

Hark  !  in  the  golden  ear  of  day, 
The  blackbird  pours  his  silvery  lay, 
While  streams  in  sunny  splendour  play 

Around  my  gentle  Nannie. 
I  wander'd  o'er  the  fresh  green  lea, 

Gentle  Nannie  !  lovely  Nannie  ! 
But  saw  no  flower  as  sweet  as  thee, 

My  gentle,  dark-hair'd  Nannie  ! 

Let  us  seek  some  grassy  shade 

In  yon  daisy-sheeted  mead 

Where  the  bright,  wild  bees  shall  breathe 

Flower-songs  round  my  Nannie  ! 
And  I'll  sing  a  sweet  one,  too, 

Gentle  Nannie  !  lovely  Nannie  ! 
All  of  beauty,  love  and  you, 

My  gentle,  dark-hair'd  Nannie  ! 


62  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  primrose  opens,  in  the  vale, 
Its  golden  mouth  to  kiss  the  gale 
That  wafts  the  sweets  of  dell  and  dale 

To  yon,  my  gentle  Nannie ! 
But  sweeter  far  art  thou  to  me, 

Gentle  Nannie !  lovely  Nannie ! 
Than  the  fragrant  gale  to  thee, 

My  gentle,  dark-hair'd  Nannie ! 

The  yellow-flaming  sunlight  gilds 
The  cloudy  helmets  of  the  hills ; 
Young  mist  wreaths  curl  o'er  the  fields, 

Soft  as  thy  radiant  hair,  Nannie ! 
Blight's  the  morning's  scarlet-fringe — 

Gentle  Nannie — lovely  Nannie! 
But  brighter  is  thy  mouth's  red  tinge, 

My  gentle,  dark-hair'd  Nannie ! 

Rich-scented  hangs  the  meadow-sweet, 
Like  snow-plumes  o'er  an  emerald  sheet ; 
Or  like  thine  own  white-glancing  feet 

Upon  the  sun-bright  lawn,  Nannie ! 
I  think  the  fragrant,  pale  flower  tells, 

Gentle  Nannie !  lovely  Nannie ! 
That  sweetness  in  thy  bosom  dwells, 

My  gentle,  dark-hair'd  Nannie ! 


THE  FAIRY  MAID  OF  GARNA.* 

A   LEGEND   OF  SIX-MILE-BRIDGE. 

By  Garna's  fairy  river, 

Where  the  bright  green  birch -boughs  quiver, 

Dwelt  a  maid  as  fair  as  ever 

Nature  shaped  or  beauty  blest ; 
Her  voice  was  sweet  and  airy, 
And  her  form  was  like  the  fairy 
That  treads  the  woodland  dreary, 

When  the  day  is  hush'd  to  rest. 

Fell  her  brown  locks'  floating  splendour 
O'er  her  milk-white  arms  tender ; 
And  her  queenly  port  was  slender 

As  the  ash-tree  on  the  lawn ; 
Than  the  summer  dew-fall  lighter 
Was  her  waxen  foot,  but  whiter, 
•  And  her  soulful  eyes  were  brighter 

Than  the  star-beams  ere  the  dawn. 

*  The  ancient  name  of  Six-mile-Bridge,  in  the  county  of  Clare.  It  derived 
this  name  from  the  river  O'Cearneigh,  which  flows  through  it.  It  was'formerly 
a  famous  place  for  trade,  commerce,  and  faction  fighting.  The  scenery 
around  it,  especially  that  of  Mount  levers  and  Castle  Cren,  is  very  rich  and 
romantic. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND  63 

Round  her  simple  robe  of  neatness, 
Play'd  a  wild  harmonious  sweetness, 
As,  with  a  sun-ray's  fleetness, 

Down  the  valley's  slope  she  hied ; 
And  the  young  flowers  look'd  up  blushing, 
All  with  liquid  honey  gushing, 
As  her  wind-like  feet  went  rushing 

O'er  their  heads  of  modest  pride. 

One  golden  July  morn, 

When  the  meads'  green  wealth  was  shorn, 

And  the  new-hay's  sweetness  borne 

On  the  honey -winged  gale ; 
O'er  the  dew's  resplendent  whiteness, 
With  her  step  of  aerial  lightness, 
Like  a  thing  of  angel  brightness, 

Went  she  wandering  thro'  the  vale. 

Beside  a  brier-bush  tangled, 

All  with  snowy  blossoms  spangled, 

Whose  flowery  incense  mingled 

With  the  wild  thyme's  breathings  sweet ; 
Gently  there  the  maiden  ventured, 
Its  dreamy  shade  she  enter'd, 
And  sat,  a  pearl  centred, 

In  its  emerald  retreat. 

Humm'd  the  bees  in  sunshine  sleeping, 
Glanced  the  dewy  wood-leaves  weeping, 
Sung  the  streams,  like  harp-notes,  creeping 

The  small  silvery  stones  among; 
The  zephyr,  like  a  dove,  came, 
The  sunny  clouds  above  gleam, 
While  Nature,  in  a  love- dream, 

Gush'd  out  her  heart  of  song. 

Fleetly  pass'd  each  golden  minute, 
Sweetly  sung  the  lark  and  linnet, 
'Till  in  the  burning  zenith 

Blazed  the  hot  meridian  beam ; 
Still  the  brown  maid  of  the  valley, 
Like  a  sun-o'erheated  lily, 
Lay  in  that  scented  alley, 

•  Dreaming  many  a  fairy  dream. 

But,  hark !  what  sweet  tones  ringing, 
'Mid  the  rosy  sunbeams  springing? 
As  if  the  flowers  were  singing 

An  airy  summer-lay! 
Or  the  bands  of  heaven  descending, 
Their  million  harp  songs  blending, 
Round  their  sister-angel  bending, 

To  charm  her  away ! 


64  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

The  young  maid  gazed  around  her, 
With  a  look  of  joy  and  wonder, 
When  from  the  green  woods  yonder 

A  host  of  figures  sprung, 
Youths  and  maidens,  bright  and  splendid, 
In  a  radiant  circle  blended, 
And  their  merry  laugh  ascended, 

Like  a  gush  of  melting  song. 

As  the  calm,  grand  rainbow  beaming, 
'Mid  the  showery  cloudlets  streaming, 
With  their  rose-hued  fringes  gleaming 

In  the  April  evening  sun, 
So  look'd  their  rich  robes  flowing, 
All  their  dazzling  textures  showing 
Like  a  mass  of  diamonds  glowing, 

As  the  glorious  band  moved  on 

But  a  youth  of  heavenly  bearing, 
In  the  splendid  van  appearing — 
Like  a  prince  of  ancient  Erin — 

To  the  brown-hair'd  girl  bow'd ; 
And  his  fond  look^  seem'd  to  woo  her 
For  his  bright  eyes  burn'd  thro'  her, 
As  the  regal  youth  moved  to  her, 

Bowing  down  his  person  proud. 

Waved  his  amber  curls  fantastic, 
Round  his  towering  brow  majestic, 
As  he  bent  his  knee  elastic, 

Before  the  wondering  dame ; 
To  his  lips  of  lusmore  brightness, 
With  a  touch  of  breezy  lightness, 
He  press'd  her  hand  of  whiteness, 

Gently  murmuring  her  name. 

Golden  dews  of  odour  breathing, 
Dreamy  music — swelling,  fading — 
Round  the  maiden's  soul  came  wreathing 

Their  delicious  fairy  spells ; 
And  she  felt  as  if  up  borne 
On  the  sunny  wings  of  morn,  * 

Never  caring  to  return 

To  her  own  green  summer  dells  ! 

The  red-faced  sun  was  setting, 

And  his  gold-ray'd  shafts  were  flitting 

Where  the  starry  dew  was  wetting 

The  lone  graves  of  wild  Croaghane ; 
Stole  the  breeze,  in  sleepy  silence, 
From  blue  Shannon's  reedy  Islands, 
O'er  dark  Cratloe's  wooded  highlands, 

And  Bunratty's  sylvan  lawn. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  65 

The  birch-groves'  rocking  shadows, 
Like  silent  weeping  widows, 
Moved  along  the  lonely  meadows, 

On  the  low  sun's  crimson  bars ; 
And  the  night  began  to  render 
To  the  hills  its  gloomy  splendour, 
And  heaven  look'd  clear  and  tender, 

As  if  cradling  infant  stars. 

On  its  grass-clad  rock  well-founded — 

With  its  ivy  cochal  round  it, 

By  a  belt  01  dark  trees  bounded, — 

Frown'd  Rosmanaher's  castle  tall ; 
And  Bunratty's  fortress  hoary — 
Iron  king  of  feudal  glory — 
Seem'd  to  nurse  some  awful  story 

In  its  time-defying  wall. 

By  Garna's  fairy  river, 

Where  the  tall,  green  marsh  reeds  quiver, 

Stood  a  youth  as  bold  as  ever 

Trod  the  old  land  of  the  Gael; 
By  his  glance  you  may  discover 
Connor  Roe,  the  outlaw'd  rover, 
The  fond,  accepted  lover 

Of  the  brown  maid  of  the  vale. 

Ah !  where  delays  the  maiden 
Who  has  made  his  heart  an  Eden 
With  love's  dearest  treasure  laden 

For  his  Beautiful — his  own ! 
The  last  sun-rose  is  dying 
The  calm,  clear,  tranquil  sky  in; 
Still  waiting,  watching,  sighing, 

Her  lover  stands  alone. 

As  he  stood  alone,  and  pondering, 
At  the  maiden's  absence  wondering; 
Down  the  churchyard  path,  meandering 

Four  strange  weird-like  figures  came, 
A  gloomy  coffin  bearing 
To  the  ^graveyard,  slowly  steering, 
And  in  solemn  grief  appearing, 
As  they  bore  the  lifeless  frame. 

Connor  look'd,  with  airy  feeling, 
On  the  silent  cortege  stealing ; 
No  step — no  voice  revealing 

The  sound  of  living  thing ; 
Like  cloud-shades  of  the  brown  night, 
On  misty  Boola's  lone  height, 
Drifting  in  the  moonlight, 

Upon  the  south  wind's  wing. 


66  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Connor  was  a  youth  of  daring, 
Neither  fiend  nor  fairy  fearing, 
And,  as  the  forms  were  nearing 

The  old,  gray  churchyard  wall,* 
Forward  on  their  path  he  darted ! 
With  a  sudden  scream,  they  started, 
And,  like  flying  mist,  departed, 

Leaving  coffin,  corpse  and  pall ! 

Moan'd  the  owl  and  croak'd  the  raven, 
And  the  bending  trees  were  waven 
By  a  blast  that  shriek'd  thro'  heaven, 

With  a  horrid  ghostly  groan ; 
And  a  black  cloud,  thick  and  chilling, 
All  the  scene  with  midnight  filling, 
Rose  darkly — densely  swelling — 

Round  the  youth  and  coffin  lone. 

Nothing  fearing — nothing  daunted — 
By  no  airy  terrors  haunted, 
He  faced  the  bier  enchanted, 

And  tore  the  lid  away! 
Slowly  at  the  white  corpse  peeping — 
Then,  with  a  cry,  upleaping — 
There  calmly,  gently  sleeping, 

His  brown-hair'd  girl  lay ! 

The  darken'd  plain  was  shaking, 

And  a  million  tongues  seem'd  speaking, 

As  if  the  Dead  were  'waking 

In  every  olden  tomb ! 
And  around  his  footpath  narrow, 
Rung  many  a  wail  of  sorrow 
That  chill'd  him  to  the  marrow, 

As  he  bore  the  maiden  home ! 

Her  fairy  trance  is  over, 

And  the  morning  smiles  above  her, 

As  she  sits  beside  her  lover, 

In  her  cottage,  in  the  glen ; 
But  her  feet  have  lost  their  fleetness, 
And  her  face  its  bright  repleteness, 
And  her  silvery  laugh  of  sweetness 

Was  never  heard  again  ! 

*  Croaghane  Churchyard  ;  tradition  states  that  within  this  very  ancient 
burial  ground,  the  bravest  men  and  fairest  women  of  Munster  lie  interred. 
It  signifies,  "John's  Cross" 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  0¥  THOMOND.  67 

THE  FENIAN  BRIDE. 

On  Cuil-na-lawn  the  Ceanna  bhan 

Waves  in  the  breeze  its  silvery  plume  ; 
The  mist  has  roll'd  its  dewy  fold 

Around  Ardcuilen's  crest  of  broom  ; 
In  Ballyosheen  the  trees  are  green, 

The  linnet  sings  on  wild  Slieve  JDoun  ; 
But,  oh,  mo  stoir !  my  joy  is  o'er — 

My  heart  has  lost  its  summer  sun  ! 

On  Cuil-na-lawn  the  bright  red  dawn 

Had  shower'd  its  crimson  gems  of  light ; 
Each  white  cloud  seem'd  a  snowy  fawn 

Upon  Ardcuilen's  dusky  height ; 
But  ere  the  morn,  on  Callan's  side, 

To  glistening  rubies  turned  the  dew  ; 
By  lonely  Cashen's  briar-fringed  tide, 

My  mountain  eagle  from  me  flew. 

I  mind  the  eve  when  Summer's  breath 

Scarce  stirr'd  the  mist  on  dark  Knoc  Ree, 
With  trembling  souls  we  sat  beneath 

The  snow-bloom  of  the  wild  haw-tree  ; 
The  bees  were  humming  to  their  homes 

Within  the  heather's  green  retreats  ; 
While,  like  their  gushing  honeycombs, 

Our  hearts  were  filled  with  Nature's  sweets. 

The  moon  look'd  in  on  Knocmore  glen, 

The  crags  like  piles  of  silver  shone, 
Where  twice  two  hundred  patriot-men 

Were  marshalFd  at  his  word  alone  ; 
The  tale  was  told — the  pass  was  sold — 

The  patriot  band  was  forced  to  flee ; 
And  to  escape  a  dungeon  cold, 

My  mountain  eagle  flew  from  me  ! 

Again  the  beams  of  sunny  Spring 

With  crimson  pearl-buds  clothe  the  broom  ; 
And  freshening  showers  and  sunshine  bring 

To  primrose  banks  a  robe  of  bloom  ; 
Again  with  rich,  white  beauty  glows 

The  bosom  of  the  wild  haw-tree  ; 
Yet  Spring,  with  all  her  balm,  bestows 

No  happy  bloom  of  heart  to  me. 

On  bleak  Craighbhan  I  sit  alone, 

The  mountain-breeze  around  me  sighs  ; 
My  tears  have  warm'd  the  cold,  gray  stone, 

And  burn'd  a  circle  round  my  eyes  ; 


68  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND 

The  hawk  is  flying  to  his  nest 
High  on  the  cliff's  of  dark  Knoc  Ree — 

But,  och  !  mo  stoir  !  my  heart  is  sore  ! 
My  bird  no  more  shall  fly  to  me ! 


THE  BATTLE  OF  MOINMOR.* 
a.  d.  1151. 

Sing  the  day  of  Moinmor  where  the  ravens  were  feasted, 
And  the  blood  of  the  mighty,  like  water,  was  wasted  ; 
Where  many  a  fierce  Gallowglass,  Kern,  and  Bonnact, 
Came  to  conquer  green   Thomond,  from   Leinster  and  Con- 
naught. 
Thick  as  grain  in  the  brown  sheaves  of  autumn,  they  gather, 
And  spread  their  dark  lines  o'er  the  face  of  the  heather. 
Like  the  weird  lights  that  gleam  round  the  dark  Rock  of  Cleenaf 
Shone  the  glittering  war-axes  of  Meath  and  Lagenia.  % 
Bright  ridges  of  spear  points,  towards  heaven,  are  gleaming, 
Like  fire  sparks  that  float  o'er  some  doom'd  city  flaming. 

Proud  Torlogh  O'Brien,  from  Clan  Carrha  retreating, 

Sees  the  foemen  assembled,  and  joys  at  their  meeting. 

There's  a  dark,  fiery  stain  on  his  high  kingly  honor, 

That  he  longs  to  blot  out  in  the  blood  of  O'Connor. 

And  never  did  wolf  gnash  the  fangs  of  his  anger, 

When  seeking  the  flocks  in  the  rage  of  his  hunger, 

With  deadlier  thirst  to  destroy  and  devour  them, 

Than  Thomond's  fierce  chief,  when  his  foes  stood  before  him. 

The  eagle-soul'd  Dalgais  surround  their  great  leader, 

Resolving  to  die  or  repel  the  invader. 

Tho'  their  numbers,  by  thousands,  are  less  than  the  foemen, 

They  fear  not  O'Connor's  tall  spearmen  and  bowmen ; 

*  "This  great  battle  was  fought  by  Torloghuiore  O'Brien,  King  of  Munster. 
at  the  head  of  seven  thousand  Dalcassians,  against  the  united  forces  of 
Leinster,  Connaught  and  Meath,  commandsiLby  Torlogh  O'Connor,  King 
of  Connaught,  father  of  the  celebrated  Rodie^eHBlonarch  of  Ireland.  The 
cause  of  the  conflict  was  jealousy  of  powerggcgHplllbion  of  territory  between 
O'Brien  and  O'Connor.  The  latter  Chiefwas  marching  to  invade  Thomond, 
—when  overtaken,  unwittingly,  by  O'Brien,  who  was  returning  to  his  prin- 
cipality after  subduing  the  MacCarthys  of  Desmond.  The  armies  met  at 
Moinmor,  an  extensive  plain  in  the  Barony  of  Clanwilliam,  and  an  engage- 
ment took  place,  the  like  of  which  was  not  seen  since  the  day  of  Clontarf. 
The  Dalgais,  though  overwhelmed  by  superior  numbers,  and  quite  unpre- 
pared for  the  contest,  maintained  their  ground  with  desperate  valour,  and 
almost  decimated  the  whole  army  of  O'Connor;  but  the  victory  remained  not 
with  the  invaders,  until  the  entire  army  of  Thomond  was  destroyed,  all  but 
one  shattered  battalion." — Historical  Memoir  the  O'Briens. 

This  fierce  encounter  destroyed  more  of  the  military  prestige  of  Ireland 
than  did  the  great  fight  of  Clontarf.  It  opened  a  positive  and  easy  avenue 
to  the  Norman  robbers.  The  slaughter  of  the  nobility  on  this  field  was 
fearful ;  the  annalists  give  a  long  list  of  it. 

t  The  residence  of  the  Fairy  Queen,  Cleena— a  romantic  cliff,  in  the  county 
Cork,  about  which  many  wild  legends  are  told. 

t  The  ancient  name  of  Leinster. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  69 

But  their  iron-nerved  grasp  on  their  axe-handles  tight'ning, 
On  they  move,  like  the  spirits  that  ride  heaven's  lightning  ; 
While  their  long-measured  tread  makes  the  ground  tremble 

under, 
Like  the  deep-muffled  sound  of  the  low  groaning  thunder. 

The  wild  battle-blast  of  the  trumpet  has  sounded, 
And  swift  to  the  onset  the  giant  hosts  bounded  ; 
The  field  flamed  and  roared  with  the  torrent  of  arms, 
Like  a  huge  forest  swung  by  the  madness  of  storms. 
Have  you  seen,  at  Ardmore,  the  white  billows  advancing, 
When  the  sea  to  the  tune  of  the  whirlwind  is  dancing  ? 
And  the  wave-giants,  rising  and  roaring  together, 
With  their  awful  war-songs,  charging  mad  on  each  other? 

Thus  raged  the  dread  fight,  in  tumultuous  disorder, 
And  the  sounding  plain  trembled  from  centre  to  border. 
Spears  whistled  and  rattled  in  deadly  collision, 
To  the  hearts  of  the  combatants  seeking  admission ; 
Souls  of  heroes — forgetting  the  temples  that  shrined  them — 
Flew  out  thro'  red  rents  from  the  clay  that  confined  them  : 
Shields  leap'd  from  the  axes,  in  many  a  splinter, 
Like  wither'd  leaves  tost  from  the  dark  groves  of  winter  ; 
And  towering  heads  sunk,  with  the  helmets  that  bound  them, 
While  their  reeking  brains  smoked  on  the  weapons  that  found 
them. 

But  in  vain  are  the  fearless  Dalcassians  contending, 
For  the  might  of  fresh  legions  their  phalanx  is  rending  : 
And  the  powers  of  the  foemen  seem  growing  around  them 
More  fast  than  their  gore-clotted  weapons  can  wound  them  ; 
Like  billows  of  fire,  on  the  ranks  they  are  closing, 
New  ramparts  of  steel  to  their  bosoms  opposing  ; 
And  fast  as  they  come,  yet  the  Dalgais  are  mowing 
Their  lines,  thick  as  sleet  when  the  north  wind  is  blowing. 

"Oh  !  green-bosom'd  Thomoncl  !  thou'rt  bravely  defended  ! 
And  thy  foes  shall  be  few  when  the  conflict  is  ended. 
Stand  together,  ye  flowers  of  the  children  of  Heber  ! 
Whose  strong  hands  were  made  for  the  broad  axe  and  sabre  ! 
With  those  bright  blades  of  valour  that  ever  array'd  you, 
Give  a  grave  to  the  raiders  that  dared  to  invade  you  ! 
Oh  !  think  of  your  honors,  as  heroes  and  freemen  ! 
And  think  of  the  fame  of  your  proud,  queenly  women  ! 
And  think  of  the  glory  that  courted  and  crown'd  you  ! 
When  Erin's  Kings  bow'd  in  submission  around  you ! 
Let  your  dark  foes  remember  this  great  day,  with  sorrow, 
And  curse  the  war  hawks  of  the  House  of  Kinkora  ! 
Your  fathers  in  battle  were  never  defeated, 
No  field  show'd  the  mark  where  their  footsteps  retreated  ! 
Their  proud  faces  ne'er  show'd  the  white  hue  of  pallor, 
When  the  vengeance  of  war  met  their  bosoms  of  valour  ! 


70  LAYS   AND    LEGENDS   OF   THOMOND. 

Up,  Torlogh  !  thou  fire-hearted,  eagle-eyed  warrior  ! 
In  the  red  time  of  danger  our  beacon  and  barrier  ! 
Is  the  hot  blood  of  Brian  in  thy  royal  veins  failing — 
Is  the  lion  growing  weak,  that  the  fawns  are  prevailing  ? 
No  ! — tho'  unprepared  the  fierce  enemy  found  you, 
Tho'  his  strong-handed  thousands  are  pressing  around  you  ! 
Tho'  his  masses  of  Steel  on  thy  host  thickly  cluster, 
Like  fire-laden  clouds  when  at  midnight  they  muster. 
There's  a  soul  of  defiance,  proud  burning,  within  you  ! 
Whose  towering  ambition  an  empire  might  win  you  ! 
Then  on  to  the  fight — in  the  van  let  them  find  you — 
Oh  !  why  should  the  bard  of  your  glory  remind  you  ! 
Prince  of  the  rich  gifts,  and  strong  steeds  of  fleetness  ! 
Prince  of  the  grand  halls,  and  wild  harps  of  sweetness  ! 
Prince  of  dark  forests,  green  pastures  and  cattle  ! 
Prince  /6f  bright  swords,  in  the  red  day  of  battle  ! 
Let  tby  loud  voice  be  heard  thro'  the  startled  field  ringing, 
Like  the  storm  spirit's  tone  in  the  mountain  wood  singing  ! 
Fire  thy  chiefs  to  their  high  posts  of  danger  and  honour, 
And  fling  their  fierce  might  on  the  host  of  O'Connor  ! " 

Oh  !  they  come  at  the  call  of  their  trumpet-tongued  leader, 
With  their  uplifted  axes  all  blazing  together ; 
And  they  drive  on  the  foe,  in  their  hot  fury  thirsting, 
Like  a  mad,  hill-hemm'd  flood  on  the  wasted  vales  bursting. 
Wild  was  their  shock,  as  the  monster  waves  meeting 
At  Shannon's  dark  mouth,  when  the  tide  is  retreating. 
How  the  fast  sinking  ranks  reel  and  tumble  before  them, 
Like  reeds,  when  the  wrath  of  the  lightning  sweeps  o'er  them. 
Red  was  their  track  thro'  the  centre  enlarging  ! 
Thick  was  the  blood  shower  that  smoked  at  their  charging  ! 
Many  the  steel-cloven  corpses  deep  strewing 
Their  widening  pathway  of  carnage  and  ruin. 
Fierce  was  the  clang  of  ten  thousand  swords  cleaving 
Their  way,  like  the  waves  when'the  ocean  is  heaving  ; 
While  the  hosts  seem  to  melt,  as  the  mountain  mists  sweeping 
Thro'  heaven,  when  the  blast  from  its  slumber  is  leaping. 

Have  you  seen,  in  the  black  face  of  midnight,  the  gleaming 

Of  meteors  of  fire  thro'  the  parted  clouds  streaming  ? 

While  river  and  wood  seem  with  terror  to  tremble, 

As  in  air's  gloomy  bosom  dark  demons  assemble ; 

The  purple-edged  fire-clouds,  unmoved  and  unriven, 

Seem  hanging  like  pitch -co  ver'd  mountains  in  heaven  ! 

Till,  sudden,  their  mighty  artillery  awaken — 

33iey  burst  with  a  crash,  and  creation  is  shaken  ! 

Thug  jfche  warriors  appear'd  thro'  the  battle-tide  dashing, 

Jhwffiiing  their  sharp  axes  thro'  steel  helmets  crashing ; 

i%«  W&.  rain  of  toil  down  their  foreheads  is  pouring, 

And  tSir  greedy  blades  steam  with  the  lives  they're  devouring ! 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF   THOMOND.  71 

Half  the  mighty  Dalcassians  in  carnage  are  lying, 

And  yet  not  a  man  from  the  combat  is  flying ; 

But,  seeming  to  gather  new  vigour,  they  rally, 

And  cleave  thro'  the  foemen  a  blood-crimson'd  alley. 

O'Connor's  fierce  war-cry  encounter'd  O'Brien's, 

As,  'mid  the  red  conflict,  they  met,  like  two  lions  ; 

Or  two  haughty  eagles,  on  storm-lifted  pinion, 

Contesting  their  claim  to  the  aerial  dominion. 

Lo  !  they  fight,  in  the  midst  of  the  gore-deluge  horrid, 

With  wrath  in  each  eyeball  and  gloom  on  each  forehead  ; 

And  never  met  chiefs,  in  the  battle's  dread  clangor, 

More  deadly  and  hot  with  the  flames  of  their  anger. 

O'Connor  appear'd  against  Thomond's  proud  leader, 

Like  a  portly  round  tower  by  a  hugh  mountain  cedar ; 

While  the  weapons  of  slaughter  raged  harmless  round  them, 

As  if  none,  but  their  own  steel,  was  worthy  to  wound  them  ! 

With  shields,  like  hill  crags  by  the  lightning  strokes  rifted, 

They  closed,  with  their  blood-painted  axes  uplifted, 

And  they  swerv'd  from  the  blows,  as  if  earthquakes  shook  them, 

While  their  helmets  spit  fire  at  the  weapons  that  struck  them  ! 

Gore  splash 'd  in  the  track  of  their  deadly  advances  ! 

The  poison  of  serpents  seem'd  mixed  in  their  glances  ! 

Their  arms  sway'd,  like  wings  of  an  eagle  in  motion, 

Or  the  shark's  rapid  fins  when  he  darts  thro'  the  ocean  ! 

Have  you  heard  the  strong  hammers  the  metal  war  waging, 

When  the  sons  of  the  forge  the  red  iron  are  sledging  ? 

The  shrill-ringing  anvil,  repeatedly  stricken, 

Roars  a  long,  rusty  note  as  the  heavy  blows  quicken  ! 

Thus  on  their  orb'd  bucklers,  half  shatter'd  and  sunder'd, 

In  clanging  succession  their  war-axes  thunder'd. 

But  the  steel  of  O'Brien  thro'  his  foe's  corslet  rushes, 

And  red  on  its  blue  edge  the  royal  blood  gushes  ! 

He  reel'd,  as  the  stroke  on  his  bosom  resounded, 

And  fierce  on  the  proud  King  of  Thomond  he  bounded  ! 

Like  giants,  in  frenzy,  they  clutch  one  another, 

And  roll  on  the  blood-sheeted  war-field  together ! 

The  sound  of  their  fall  and  their  armour's  deep  rattle, 

Like  death-bells,  are  heard  o'er  the  clang  of  the  battle  ! 

The  quivering  sward  by  their  fierce  weight  is  dinted, 

As,  like  two  raging  leopards,  they  struggled  and  panted  ! 

Around  them  the  torrent  of  battle  is  sweeping, 

Like  a  ghost-ridden  squall  o'er  a  broken  bank  leaping  ! 

To  rescue  their  leaders  both  armies  contended, 

Spears,  axes,  and  swords  in  one  fearful  crash  blended ; 

Thick  showered  the  blows,  o'er  the  prostrate  kings  ringing, 

And  the  sluices  of  life  were  all  open  and  springing. 

Like  a  red  sunset  purpling  the  sea's  stormy  water, 

A  blood-haze  enveloped  that  whirlwind  of  slaughter. 

Pile  on  pile,  the  deep  mass  of  dead  heroes  is  growing 

As  fast  as  the  drift  when  the  dark  sky  is  snowing. 


72  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

You'd  have  thought— so  determined  the  warriors  contended, — 
That  the  kingdoms  of  earth  on  the  combat  depended. 

From  the  dread  pile  of  carnage  the  princes  are  torn, 
And,  wounded  and  weak,  to  their  chariots  they're  borne ; 
But  the  haughty  O'Brien  sees  no  host  to  defend  him, 
For  few  are  the  faithful  chiefs  left  to  befriend  him  ! 
Of  all  the  brave  thousands,  his  glory  maintaining, 
One  shattered  battalion,  alone,  is  remaining ! 
And  they  bear  him  away,  in  their  stalwart  embraces, 
With  grief  in  their  great  souls,  and  gore  on  their  faces. 

They  retreat,  through  Clanwilliam,  all  sadly  and  slowly, 
Round  their  Prince,  in  his  chariot,  desponding  and  lowly ! 
But  the  toil-wearied  victors  forbore  to  pursue  them, 
As  they  looked  on  the  battle-wreck'd  plain  where  they  knew 

them. 
Oh !  ne'er  shall  that  field  from  dark  memory's  mirror, 
Withdraw  its  grim,  blood-shrouded  image  of  terror! 

'Tis  twilight — the  pale  sky  with  white  stars  is  studded, 
And  the  West  with  deep  shadowy  crimson  is  flooded ! 
The  victors  remain  on  the  war  field  blood-clotted, 
Like  a  few  stunted  trees  where  a  forest  once  nodded. 
No  wild  cheer  was  heard  the  red  victory  greeting, 
But  silent,  as  ghosts,  was  the  conquerors'  meeting! 
Ah !  dearly  they  paid  for  their  triumph  of  honor, 
And  small  was  the  trophy  it  yielded  O'Connor! 

Where's  the  glory  of  which  you  pretend  to  have  tasted? 
Where's     the  conquest  for    which  your  dear   country  was 

wasted? 
The  meed  of  your  rancour  and  discord  is  granted — 
You  have  done — basely  done— what  the  foreigners  wanted ! 

SONG  OF  IRISH  EMIGRANTS. 

Air — "Cruiskeen  Lawn."  * 

'Tis  the  last  night  of  our  stay 

Ere  we  wander  far  away ! 
To  seek  our  fortune  on  a  foreign  shore ; 

But,  before  we  brave  the  sea, 

Let  us  on  this  night  be  gay ! 
For,  to-morrow,  we  may  part  to  meet  no  more,  boys !  no  more  ! 

To-morrow,  we  may  part  to  meet  no  more ! 

To  a  strange  and  distant  land — 

With  honest  heart  and  hand ; 
Strong  destiny  obliges  us  to  roam ; 

Yet,  be  it  weal  or  woe, 

To  whatever  port  we  go, 
We  won't  forget  the  old  friends  at  home,  boys !  at  home !   ^  . 

We  won't  forget  the  old  friends  at  home ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  73 

Then  fill  your  glasses  high, 

For  our  parting  time  is  nigh ! 
And  to-morrow  we'll  be  far  away  from  here  ; 

Then  our  friends  will  be  alone  ! 

But  they'll  miss  us  when  we're  gone  ! 
And  they'll  pray  for  our  success,  with  a  tear  !  boys  !  a  tear  ! 

And  pray  for  our  success !  with  a  tear  ! 

They  say  Australia's  land 

Is  wealthy,  great  and  grand  ! 
With  its  fields  rich  in  gold's  shining  ore  ; 

But  if  every  grain  of  sand 

Were  a  diamond  on  its  strand, 
We'll  still  love  poor  Ireland  more,  boys  !  more ! 

We'll  still  love  poor  Ireland  more  ! 

Farewell,  birth-place  of  our  love — 

May  the  angel-powers  above 
Give  our  ship  a  peaceful  sea  and  gentle  wind  ! 

And  tho'  other  lands  may  be 

Independent,  rich  and  free  ; 
Yet  there's  none  like  the  Land  we  leave  behind  !  boys  !  behind! 

There's  none  like  the  Land  we  leave  behind ! 

Here's  a  health  to  those  we  leave 

In  the  country  of  the  brave 

May  the  day-star  of  Freedom  on  them  smile  ! 

May  God  from  His  high  Throne 

Give  our  people  back  their  own  ! 
And  drive  the  perjured  Saxon  from  our  Isle !  boys  !  our  Isle! 

And  drive  the  perjured  Saxon  from  our  Isle  ! 

Here's  to  all  our  youthful  joys 

With  the  pleasant  girls  and  boys  ! 
And  every  honest  friend  we  love  and  know — 

On  Australia's  golden  shore 

There  is  wealth  for  us  in  store  ; 
And  the  morning  is  approaching  !  we  must  go  !  boys  !  go  ! 

The  morning  is  approaching  !  we  must  go  ! 


MARYANNE'S  CHARMS. 

My  Maryanne's  hair  is  like  the  gossamer-threads, 
When  they  float  in  silver  wreaths  o'er  the  flower-f  ring'd  meads ; 
Round  her  peril-white  temples  its  rich  rings  are  straying, 
Like  the  Lake's  sunny  curls  around  water-lilies  playing. 

My  Maryanne's  eyes  are  two  blue  wTells  of  light, 

Were  they  set  in  heaven,  as  stars,  day  would  die  in  love  with 

night ;  . 

Nature,  anxious  to  make  something  on  earth,  like  angel-eyes, 
To  form  Maryanne's,  stole  the  crystal  of  the  skies  ! 
6 


74  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

My  Maryanne's  voice  has  a  fairy-harp's  tone, 
When  'tis  heard  in  the  twilight-fields  lovely  and  lone ; 
While  the  flowers,  all  enamour'd,  on  their  dew-pillows  round, 
Seem  imploring  the  sweet  airs  to  call  back  the  sound  ! 

My  Maryanne's  lips  would  the  wild  bees  allure, 
Like  the  red  bell-blossoms  of  the  fairy  lusmore  ; 
Love  rifled  all  the  rose-tints  of  the  brilliant  sunset-sky, 
And  gave  to  my  fair  one's  lips  their  richest  crimson  dye. 

My  Maryanne's  foot  is  as  light,  and  as  white 

As  a  butterfly's  wing  in  its  sunny  May-flight ; 

The  wild  mountain  gold-flower  may  bend  to  her  tread, 

Without  losing  one  gem  from  the  crown  on  its  head. 

My  Maryanne's  bosom  is  smoother  than  silk, 
And  white  as  a  silver  cup  flowing  with  new  milk ; 
Her  garments  float  round  her,  like  veils  on  a  shrine, 
Or  a  parterre  of  flowers  o'er  a  diamond-mine. 

Last  Sunday,  at  Mass,  my  young  colleen  was  there, 
And  looking  at  her  I  forgot  Priest  and  prayer  ; 
And  I  thought,  "what  a  fine  place  this  world  would  be  ! 
If  all  were  as  sinless  and  lovely  as  she  !" 

Yester-eve,  as  she  walked  by  the  blue-bosom'd  tide, 
I  deserted  my  comrades,  and  stole  to  her  side ; 
My  poor,  dreaming  heart  twenty  love-speeches  framed, 
But,  to  give  them  an  echo,  my  tongue  got  ashamed. 

At'  last,  we  sat  down  'mong  the  white  daisy -bells, 
And  I  dived  for  her  thoughts  in  her  two  azure  wells  ; 
And  there  her  kind  spirit  said  something  to  mine, 
Which  I  heard  not  but  felt  to  be  almost  divine. 

I  press'd  her  hand  gently — the  press  was  return'd, 
Aid  her  soft  virgin  eye  with  a  sweeter  beam  burn'd ; 
I  said,  "  Can  you  love  me  ?"  and  drew  her  to  my  breast ; 
And  she,  blushing,  whisper'd,  "Yes  !"  and—  "Shrove"  told 
the  rest ! 


DRUNKEN    THADY.* 

(A  LEGEND  OF  LIMERICK.) 

Before  the  famed  year  Ninety-eight, 
In  blood  stamp'd  Ireland's  wayward  fate  ; 
When  laws  of  death  and  transportation 
Were  served,  like  banquets,  thro'  the  nation — 
But  let  it  pass — the  tale  I  dwell  on 
Has  nought  to  do  with  red  Rebellion ; 

*^Ehis  -was  a  real  character ;  he  was  a  weaver  by  trade.    He  died  in  XBSSL 
Aged*  9?  years.  .  ., .  * 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  75 

Altho'  it  was  a  glorious  ruction, 

And  nearly  wrought  our  foes'  destruction. 

There  lived  and  died  in  Limerick  City, 
A  dame  of  fame — Oh  !  what  a  pity 
That  dames  of  fame  should  live  and  die, 
And  never  learn  for  what,  or  why  ! 
Some  say  her  maiden  name  was  Brady, 
And  others  say  she  was  a  Grady  ; 

The  d 1  choke  their  contradictions  ! 

For  truth  is  murder 'd  by  their  fictions. 

'Tis  true  she  lived — 'tis  true  she  died, 

'Tis  true  she  was  a  Bishop's  bride, 

But  for  herself,  'tis  little  matter 

To  whom  she  had  been  wife  or  daughter. 

Whether  of  Bradys  or  O'Gradys  ! 

She  lived,  like  most  ungodly  ladies  ; 

Spending  his  Reverend  Lordship's  treasure 

Chasing  the  world's  evil  pleasure  ; 

In  love  with  suppers,  cards,  and  balls, 

And  luxurious  sin  of  festive  halls, 

Where  flaming  hearts,  and  flaming  wine, 

Invite  the  passions  all  to  dine. 

She  died — her  actions  were  recorded — 

Whether  in  Heaven  or  Hell  rewarded 

We  know  not,  but  her  time  was  given 

Without  a  thought  of  Hell  or  Heaven. 

Her  days  and  nights  were  spent  in  mirth — 

She  made  her  genial  Heaven  of  earth  ; 

And  never  dreamt,  at  balls  and  dinners, 

There  is  a  Hell  to  punish  sinners. 

How  quick  Time  throws  his  rapid  measure 

Along  the  date  of  worldly  pleasure  ? 

A  beam  of  light,  'mid  cloudy  shadows, 

Flitting  along  the  autumn  meadows  ; 

A  wave  that  glistens  on  the  shore, 

Retires,  and  is  beheld  no  more  ; 

A  blast  that  stirs  the  yellow  leaves 

Of  fading  woods,  in  autumn  eves  ; 

A  star's  reflection  on  the  tide, 

Which  gathering  shadows  soon  shall  hide. — 

Such  and  so  transient,  the  condition 

Of  earthly  joys  and  man's  ambition. 

Death  steals  behind  the  smile  of  joy, 

With  weapon  ready  to  destroy  ; 

And,  tho'  a  hundred  years  were  past, 

He's  sure  to  have  his  prey  at  last. 

And,  when  the  fated  hour  is  ready, 

He  cares  not  for  a  lord  or  lady  ; 

But  lifts  his  gun,  and  snaps  the  trigger 

And  shoots  alike  the  king  and  beggar. 


76  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  thus  the  heroine  of  our  tale, 

He  shot,  as  fowlers  shoot  a  quail ; 

And,  'mid  the  flash  of  pomp  and  splendor, 

He  made  her  soul  the  world  surrender. 

She  join'd  her  fathers'  awful  forms 

'Mid  rolling  clouds  and  swelling  storms  ; 

And,  lest  the  Muse  would  be  a  liar, 

I'm  led  to  think  she  went  no  higher. 

But  now  I  have  some  secret  notion, 

She  did  not  like  her  new  promotion  ; 

For  if. she  did  she  would  remain, 

And  scorn  to  come  to  earth  again. 

But  earth,  the  home  of  her  affection, 

Could  not  depart  her  recollection  1 

So  she  return'd  to  flash  and  shine, 

But  never  more  to  dance  or  dine ! 

The  story  of  her  resurrection 

Flew  out  in  many  a  queer  direction  ! 

Each  night,  she  roam'd,  with  airy  feet, 

From  Thomond  Bridge  to  Castle-street  ;* 

And  those  that  stay'd  out  past  eleven, 

Would  want  a  special  guard  from  Heaven, 

To  shield  them,  with  a  holy  wand, 

From  the  mad  terrors  of  her  hand ! 

She  knock'd  two  drunken  soldiers  dead, 

Two  more,  with  batter'd  foreheads,  fled  ; 

She  broke  the  senlry-box  in  staves, 

And  dash'd  the>fragments  in  the  waves  ! 

She  slash'd  the  gunners,  left  and  right, 
w    And  put  the  garrison  to  flight ! 

The  devil,  with  all  his  faults  and  failings, 

Was  far  mpre  quiet  in  his  dealings, 

(Notwithstanding  all^that  he  lost), 

Than  this  unruly,  ranipant  she-ghost !  - 

No  pugilist  in  Limerick  town,  *v 

Could  kiock  a  man  so  quickly  $own, 
Or  deal  an  active  blow  so  ready 
S»-   -«**.;.      T^floor  one,  as  the  Bishop's  Lady  ! 

And  thus  the  ghost  appear'd  and  vanished, 

Until  her  Ladyship  was  banish'd 
^    *  By  Father  Power  whom  things  of  evil 

%  Dreaded  as  mortals  dread  the  devil ! 

f  Off  to  the  Red  Bea  shoreihe  drove  her, 

From  which  no  tide  nor  time  can  move  her, 

•  I  hare  heard,  since  a  child,  mftHy  curious  anecdotes  related  of  the 
«•  Bishop's  Lady ;"  and,  often  hsNfe  her  midnight  depredations  formed 
themes  of  awe  and  interest,  at  jpuny  a  hearth-side,  in  the  old  locality 
which  she  haunted  with  a  vengeance.  Her  nightly  attacks  were  chiefly 
directed  against  the  guard  of  the  Castle-harrack  garrison.  But  the  nmo- 
cant  tames  of  ghosts  and  ghost-stories  are  gone  "by,  and  it  would  he  well  f&r 
*&fc$wintry  if  many  of  the  living  ghosts  of  the  present  age  were  only  as 
harmless. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  77 

From  numbering  sands  upon  the  coast 
That  skirts  the  grave  of  Pharaoh's  host ! 
A  lady  of  her  high-born  station 
Must  have  acquired  great  education 
For  such  a  clerkship — numbering  sands, 
With  no  account-book,  save  her  hands  ! 

But,  ere  the  Priest  removed  the  Lady, 

There  lived  a  "Boy,"  calPd  "Drunken  Thady  /'' 

In  Thomond-gate,  of  social  joys, 

The  birth-place  of  the  "  DeviVs  Boys !" 

Thade  knew  his  country's  history  well, 

And  for  her  sake  would  go  to  hell! 

For  hours  he'd  sit  and  madly  reason 

Upon  the  honours  of  high  treason ! 

What  Bills  the  House  had  lately  got  in, 

What  Croppies  nimbly  danced  on  nothing ! 

And  how  the  wily  game  of  State 

Was  dealt  and  play'd  in  Ninety-eight ! 

How  Wexford  fought — how  Ross  was  lost ! 

And  all  to  Erin's  bloody  cost ! 

But  had  the  powers  of  Munster  'risen, 

Erin  had  England  by  the  weasan' ! 

He  told  long  tales  about  those  play-boys, 

Call'd  Terry  Alts  and  Peep -o'- day  Boys 

Who  roused,  at  night,  the  sleeping  country, 

And  terrified  the  trembling  gentry  ! 

Now  who  dare  say  that  Irish  history 
To  Thady's  breeding  was  a  mystery  ? 
Altho'  the  Parish  Priest  proclaim'd  him, 
And, first  of  living  devils  named  him  ! 
In  heart  he  was  an  Irish  Lumper, 
But  all  his  glory  was  a  bumper  ! 
He  believed  in  God,  right  firm  and  well, 
But  served  no  Heaven  and  feared  no  Hell ! 
A  sermon  on  Hell's  pains  may  start  him, 
It  may  convince  but  not  convert  him  ! 
He  knew  his  failing  and  his  fault 
Lay  in  the  tempting  drop  of  malt ; 
And  every  day  his  vice  went  further, 
And,  as  he  drank,  his  heart  grew  harder. 
Ah,  Thady  !  oft  the  Parish  Priest 
Call'd  you  a  wicked,  drunken  beast  ! 
And  said  you  were  the  devil's  handle     f 
Of  brazen,  bare-faced,  public  scandal ! 
An  imp, — without  the  least  contrition — 
At  whiskey,  discord  and  sedition  ! 
That  drinking  was  your  sole  enjoyment, 
And  breaking  doors  your  whole  employment ! 


78  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

That  you — at  every  drunken  caper — 
Made  windows  change  their  glass  for  paper  ! 
That,  sure  as  closed  each  Sunday  night  in, 
You  set  near  half  the  parish  fighting  ! 
That,  with  your  constant,  droughty  quaffing, 
You  broke  Moll  Dea  and  Biddy  Lavin  ! 
And  drove  the  two  poor  widows  begging, 
For  not  a  drop  you  left  their  keg  in  ! 
If  Satan  stood,  with  his  artillery, 
Full  at  the  gates  of  Stein's  Distillery  ; 
With  Satan's  self  you'd  stand  a  tussle 
To  enter  there  and  wet  your  whistle  ! 

In  vain  the  Priest  reproved  his  doings — 
Even  as  the  ivy  holds  the  ruins — 
He  caution'd,  counsell'd,  watch'd,  and  track'd  him, 
But  all  in  vain — at  last  he  whack' d  him  ; 
And  with  a  blackthorn,  highly  seasoned, 
He  urged  the  argument  he'd  reasoned. 
But  Thady  loved  intoxication, 
And  foil'd  all  hopes  of  reformation ; 
He  still  rais'd  rows  and  drank  the  whiskey, 
And  roar'd,  just  like  the  Bay  of  Biscay. 
In  every  grog-shop  he  was  found, 
In  every  row  he  fought  a  round ; 
The  treadmill  knew  his  step  as  well 
As  e'er  a  bellman  knew  his  bell ; 
The  jail  received  him  forty  times 
For  midnight  rows  and  drunken  crimes  ; 
He  flailed  his  wife  and  thump'd  her  brother, 
And  burn'd  the  bed  about  his  mother, 
Because  they  hid  his  fine  steel  pike 
Deep  down  in  Paudh  Molony's  dike  ! 
The  guard  was  call'd  out  to  arrest  him, 
Across  the  quarry  loch  they  chased  him  ; 
The  night  was  dark,  the  path  was  narrow, 
Scarce  giving  room  to  one  wheelbarrow ; 
Thade  knew  the  scanty  passage  well, 
But  headlong  his  pursuers  fell 
Into  the  stagnant,  miry  brook, 
Like  birds  in  birdlime  sudden  stuck. 
The  neighbours  said  the  devil  steel'd  him, 
For  if  the  garrison  assail'd  him 
Inside  King  John's  strong  Castle-wall, 
He  would  escape  unhurt  from  all ! 
All  day  he  drank  "potheen "  at  Hayes's, 
And  pitch'd  the  King  and  Law  to  blazes  ! 
He  knocked  his  master  on  the  floor, 
-.And  kiss'd  Miss  Lizzy  at  the  door  ! 
Bu£efei*&  drunken  pranks  went  further, 
*  ^him^sad  he  had  milla  murdher  I 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  79 

The  window  panes  he  broke  entire, 

The  bottles  flew  about  the  fire ; 

The  liquor,  on  the  hearth  increasing, 

Caught  fire  and  set  the  chimney  blazing  ! 

The  Reverend  sage  this  deed  admonish'd, 

The  congregation  stood  astonish'd — 

He  said  that  Thady  was  an  agent 

Employ'd  on  earth  by  hell's  black  Regent ! 

And  if  he  wouldn't  soon  reform, 

His  place  and  pay  would  be  more  warm  ! 

His  vital  thread  would  soon  be  nick'd, 

And  into  Hades  he'd  be  kick'd  ! 

Even  there  he  would  not  be  admitted, 

Except  the  Porter  he  outwitted  ! 

For,  if  he  got  inside  the  wall, 

Most  likely,  he'd  out-devil  'em  all ! 

The  people  heard  the  sad  assertion, 

And  pray'd  aloud  for  his  conversion  ! 

While  Thady  in  the  public-house 

Was  emptying  kegs  and  "brewing "  rows •! 

For  him  the  Priest  prognosticated 

A  woeful  doom  and  end  ill-fated  ! 

And  truth  hath  rarely  disappointed 

The  sayings  of  the  Lord's  Anointed  ! 

But  many  a  one  in  heaven  takes  dinner, 

Who  died  a  saint  and  lived  a  sinner  ! 

'Twere  better  far,  and  safer  surely, 

To  live  a  saint  and  die  one  purely  ! 

All  ye  who're  ready  to  condemn 

A  fellow-child  of  clay,  like  him  ! 

Try  if  yourselves  need  no  repentance, 

Before  you  pass  the  bitter  sentence  ! 

And  ere  you  judge  your  brother,  first 

Remember  that  yourselves  are  dust  ! 

But  if  your  conscience  tells  you  then 

That  your  own  heart  is  free  from  sin — 

Cry,  with  the  Pharisee,  "  Thank  God  I 

I  am  not  like  that  wicked  clod  /"  • 

But  to  our  story  of  this  queer  boy 

Thady  the  drunken,  devil-may-care-boy  ! 

'Twas  Christmas  Eve — the  gale  was  high — 

The  snow-clouds  swept  along  the  sky  ; 

The  flaky  drift  was  whirling  down, 

Like  flying  feathers  thro'  the  town. 

The  tradesman  chatted  o'er  his  "  drop" 

The  Merchant  closed  his  vacant  shop 

Where,  all  day  long,  the  busy  crowd 

Bought  Christmas  fare,  with  tumult  loud. 

The  Grocer  scored  the  day's  amounts, 

The  Butcher  conn'd  his  fat  accounts ;  ,  , 


80  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  Farmer  left  the  noisy  mart, 
With  heavy  purse  and  lighten' d  heart. 
In  every  pane  the  Christmas  light 
Gave  welcome  to  the  holy  night ; 
In  every  house  the  holly  green 
Around  the  wreathed  walls  was  seen  ; 
The  Christmas  blocks  of  oak  entire, 
Blazed,  hiss'd  and  crackled  in  the  fire  ; 
And  sounds  of  joy  from  every  dwelling, 
Upon  the  snowy  blast  came  swelling. 

The  flying  week,  now  past  and  gone, 
Saw  Thady  earn  two  pounds  one  ! 
His  good  employer  paid  it  down, 
And  warn'd  him  to  refrain  from  town  ; 
And  banned  the  devilment  of  drinking, 
But  Thady  scorned  his  sober  thinking ; 
He  fobb'd  the  coin,  with  spirit  light, 
To  home  and  master  bade  good-night, 
And,  like  a  pirate-frigate  cruising, 
Steer'd  to  the  crowded  City,  boozing  ! 

The  sweet-toned  bells  of  Mary's  tower, 
Proclaim'd  the  Saviour's  natal  hour ! 
And  many  an  eye  with  pleasure  glisten'd  !    . 
And  many  an  ear  with  rapture  listen'd ! 
The  gather'd  crowd  of  charm'd  people 
Dispersed  from  gazing  at  the  steeple  ; 
The  homeward  tread  of  parting  feet, 
Died  on  the  echoes  of  the  street ; 
For  Johnny  Connell,  that  dreaded  man,* 
With  his  wild-raking  Garryowen  clan, 
Clear'd  the  streets  and  smash'd  each  lamp, 
And  made  the  watchmen  all  decamp  ! 

•  At  half -past  one  the  town  was  silent, 

Except  a  row  rais'd  in  the  Island, 

Where  Thady — foe  to  sober  thinking — 

With  comrade  boys  sat  gaily  drinking  ! 

A  table  with  a  pack  of  cards 

Stood  in  the  midst  of  four  blackguards, 

Who.  with  the  bumper-draught  elated, 

Dash'd  down  their  trumps,  and  swore,  and  cheated! 
**&  .Four  pints,  the  fruits  of  their  last  game, 
'■-•'  *   'White-foaming,  to  the  table  came  ; 

They  drank,  and  dealt  the  cards  about, 

And  Thady  brought  "fifteen  wheel  out/" 

Again  the  deal  was  Jack  Fitzsimon's, 

He  turned  them  up,  and  trumps  were  diamonds ; 

♦The  fitr-famed  Johnny  of  Garryowen  notoriety,  Mfter  half  a  century  of 
a  terrible  wild  career,  he  died  well,  making  ample  restitution  for  his 
glorious  mistakes. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  TIIOMOND.  81 

The  ace  was  laid  by  Billy  Mara, 
And  beat  with  five  by  Tom  O'Hara  ; 
The  queen  was  quickly  laid  by  Thady, 
Jack  threw  the  king  and  douced  the  lady ! 
Bill  jink'd  the  game  and  cried  out,  * '  Waiter ! 
Bring  in  the  round,  before  'tis  later  !" 
The  draughts  came  foaming  from  the  barrel ; 
The  sport  soon  ended  in  a  quarrel ; — 
Jack  flung  a  pint  at  Tom  O'Hara, 
And  Thady  levell'd  Billy  Mara  ; 
The  cards  flew  round  in  every  quarter, 
The  earthen  floor  grew  drunk  with  porter  ; 
The  landlord  ran  to  call  the  Watch, 
With  oaths  half  Irish  and  half  Scotch. 
The  Watch  came  to  the  scene  of  battle, 
Proclaiming  peace,  with  sounding  wattle  ; 
The  combatants  were  soon  arrested, 
But  Thady  got  off  unmolested. 

The  night  was  stormy,  cold  and  late, 

No  human  form  was  in  the  street ; 

The  virgin  snow  lay  on  the  highways, 

And  chok'd  up  alleys,  lanes,  and  byeways. 

The  North  still  pour'd  its  frigid  store, 

The  clouds  look'd  black  and  threaten' d  more  ; 

The  sky  was  starless,  moonless,  all . 

Above  the  silent  world's  white  pall. 

The  driving  sleet-shower  hiss'd  aloud — 

The  distant  forest  roar'd  and  bow'd  ; 

But  Thady  felt  no  hail  nor  sleet, 

As  home  he  reel'd  thro'  Castle-street. 

The  whistling  squall  was  beating  on 

The  batter  d  towers  of  old  King  John, 

Which  guarded  once,  in  warlike  state, 

The  hostile  pass  of  Thomond-gate. 

The  blinding  showers,  like  silvery  balls, 

Bustled  against  the  ancient  walls, 

As  if  determined  to  subdue 

What  William's  guns  had  fail'd  to  do  ! 

Old  Munchin's  trees,  from  roots  to  heads, 

Were  rocking  in  their  churchyard  beds  ; 

The  hoary  tombs  were  wrapt  in  snow,  y  -% 

The  angry  Shannon  roar  d  below.  ..^ 

Thade  reel'd  along,  in  slow  rotation, 

The  greatest  man  in  Erin  s  nation  ; 

Now  darting  forward,  like  a  pike, 

With  upraised  fist  in  act  to  strike  ; 

Now  wheeling  backward,  with  the  wind, 

And  half  to  stand  or  fall  inclined  ; 

Now  sidelong,  'mid  the  pelting  showers, 

He  stumbled  near  the  tall  round  towers  : 


82  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND. 

With  nodding  head  and  zig-zag  feet, 

He  gained  the  centre  of  the  street ; 

And,  giddy  as  a  summer-midge, 

Went  staggering  towards  old  Thomond  Bridge,* 

Whose  fourteen  arches  braved  so  clever, 

Six  hundred  years,  the  rapid  river  ; 

And  seem'd,  in  sooth,  a  noble  picture 

Of  ancient  Irish  architecture. 

But  here  the  startled  Muse  must  linger, 

With  tearful  eye  and  pointed  finger 

To  that  dark  river  once  the  bed 

Of  Limerick's  brave  defenders  dead — 

There  half  the  glorious  hope  she  cherished, 

In  one  sad  hour,  deluded,  perish'd  ; 

The  fatal  draw-bridge  open'd  wide,+ 

And  gave  the  warriors  to  the  tide  ; 

The  flood  received  each  foremost  man, 

The  rear  still  madly  pressing  on  ; 

'Till  all  the  glory  of  the  brave 

Was  buried  in  the  whirling  wave  ; 

And  heroes'  frames — a  bloodless  slaughter — 

Chok'd  up  the  deep  and  struggling  water. 

Now  Thady  ne'er  indulged  a  thought 
How  Limerick's  heroes  fell  or  fought ; 
This  night  he  was  in  no  position 
For  scripture,  history,  or  tradition. 
His  thoughts  were  on  the  Bishop's  Lady — 
The  first  tall  arch  he'd  cross 'd  already  ; 
He  paused  upon  the  haunted  ground, 
The  barrier  of  her  midnight  round. 
Along  the  Bridge-way,  dark  and  narrow, 
He  peep'd — while  terror  drove  its  arrow, 
Cold  as  the  keen  blast  of  October, 
Thro'  all  his  frame  and  made  him  sober. 
Awhile  he  stood  in  doubt  suspended, 
Still  to  push  forward  he  intended ; 
When,  lo  !  just  as  his  fears  released  him, 
Up  came  the  angry  ghost  and  seized  him  ! 
Ah,  Thady  !  you  are  done  !— Alas  ! 
The  Priest's  prediction  comes  to  pass — 
If  you  escape  this  demon's  clutch, 
The  devil  himself  is  not  your  match  ! 

He  saw  her  face  grim,  large  and  pale, 
Her  red  eyes  sparkled  through  her  veil ; 

*  Old  Thomond  Bridge,  with  its  fourteen  arches,  and  the  adjacent  fortifi- 
cations, round  towers,  &c,  were  erected  in  the  reign  of  King  John. 

t  This  was  the  act  of  a  traitor  who  held  the  command  of  the  draw-bridge 
at  the  time  of  the  siege. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  83 

Her  scarlet  cloak — half  immaterial — 
Flew  wildly  round  her  person  aerial. 
With  oaths,  he  tried  to  grasp  her  form, 
'Twere  easier  far  to  catch  a  storm  ; 
Before  his  eyes  she  held  him  there, 
His  hands  felt  nothing  more  than  air  ; 
Her  grasp  press 'd  on  him  cold  as  steel ; 
He  saw  her  form  but  could  not  feel ; 
He  tried  not,  tho'  his  brain  was  dizzy, 
To  kiss  her,  as  he  kissed  Miss  Lizzy, 
But  pray'd  to  Heaven  for  help  sincere — 
The  first  time  e'er  he  said  a  prayer. 

'Twas  vain — the  Spirit,  in  her  fury, 

To  do  her  work  was  in  a  hurry  ; 

And,  rising,  with  a  whirlwind's  strength, 

Hurl'd  him  o'er  the  battlement. 

Splash  went  poor  Thady  in  the  torrent, 

And  roll'd  along  the  rapid  current, 

Towards  Curragour's  mad-roaring  Fall 

The  billows  tost  him,  like  a  ball ; 

And  who  dare  say,  that  saw  him  sinking, 

But  'twas  his  last  full  round  of  drinking  ? 

Yet,  no — against  the  river's  might 

He  made  a  long  and  gallant  fight ; 

That  stream  in  which  he  learned  to  swim, 

Shall  be  no  watery  grave  to  him  ! 

Near,  and  more  near  he  heard  the  roar 

Of  rock-impeded  Curragour, 

Whose  torrents,  in  their  headlong  sway, 

Raged  mad  as  lions  for  their  prey  ! 

Above  the  Fall  he  spied  afloat 

Some  object,  like  an  anchor 'd  boat, 

To  this,  with  furious  grasp,  he  clung, 

And  from  the  tide  his  limbs  upswung. 

Half -frozen  in  the  stern  he  lay, 

Until  the  holy  light  of  day 

Brought  forth  some  kind  assisting  hand 

To  row  poor  Thady  to  the  strand. 

'Mid  gazing  crowds,  he  left  the  shore 

Well  sober  d,  and  got  drunk  no  more  ! 

And  in  the  whole  wide  parish  round, 

A  better  Christian  was  not  found  ; 

He  loved  his  God  and  served  his  neighbour, 

And  earn'd  his  bread  by  honest  labour. 


84  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 


REQUIEM  FOR  JOHN  MITCHELL. 

'Tis  midnight — the  spectre-eyed  meteor  is  red 
Where  the  dingy  mist  covers  Camailta's  bleak  head  ; 
And  the  cold,  constant  blast  over  Ara's  dark  broom, 
Seems  to  whisper  of  death  and  the  grief  of  the  tomb. 

Why  moans  the  lone  wood,  like  a  ghost  in  despair 
Why  looks  yon  dim  star,  like  a  blood-circled  tear  ? 
While  a  dismal  sound  throbs  up  from  Shannon's  deep  tide, 
Like  a  lover's  heart-groan  at  the  grave  of  his  bride. 

The  skies  of  Tipperary  are  fringed  with  a  cloud 
That  hangs  o'er  her  hills,  like  a  wizard's  black  shroud  ; 
While  I  mark  its  weird  drapery,  some  phantasy  dread 
Seems  to  whisper  around  me — "  John  Mitchell  is  dead  /" 

Dark  spirit !  whose  voice  'wakes  an  echo  of  fear 
In  the  springs  of  my  being  when  evil  is  near  ! 
Accurst  be  thy  white-phantom  lips  that  have  said, 
To  the  cold  midnight  shadows — "  John  Mitchell  As  dead  /" 

Must  evil  for  ever  our  Island  consume 
With  the  gall  of  the  traitor  and  grasp  of  the  tomb  ? 
Must  every  grand  tree  that  grows  up  in  our  cause, 
Be  consignM  to  the  grave  or  cut  down  by  the  laws  ? 

Ah  !  something  accurst  has  been  doing  or  done, 
For  which  evils  rain  on  us  from  heaven  and  its  sun  ; 
Lo  !  every  proud  soul,  with  an  arm  raised  to  save 
Our  Land — has  been  mark'd  for  the  dungeon  or  grave  ! 

Brave  Oak  of  our  freedom  !  unbroken  and  unbent 
By  the  blasts  which  the  tyrant  and  traitor  have  sent ; 
After  all  your  long  exile,  and  toils  of  the  past, 
You  came  back  .to  poor  Erin  to  die  there  at  last  ! 

Yes,  o'er  the  wild  seas,  to  her  ever-loved  shore, 
You  return'd  with  the  flag  which  at  parting  you  bore  ; 
Sure,  for  you,  glorious  martyr  !  the  world  had  no  rest, 
Till  you  came  back  to  Erin  to  sleep  in  her  breast  ! 

The  proud  eagle  of  Camailta  that  soars  to  the  sun, 
Is  the  only  grand  type  of  the  course  you  did  run  ! 
You  stopp'd  not  for  power  and  you  paused  not  for  prey, 
Like  the  Patriots  that  crawl  at  Baal's  altar  to-day  ! 

Your  county's  deep  love  in  your  great  soul  you  bore — 
That  soul  richly  set  with  the  gems  of  her  lore  ! 
Whose  godlike  ambition  was  only  to  see 
Her  spoilers  o'erthrown  and  her  children  free  ! 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  85 

For  the  helots  that  crouch  to  the  rods  that  control 
Each  pulse  of  the  heart,  and  each  voice  of  the  soul ; 
There  was  scorn  on  your  high  brow  and  fire  on  your  tongue, 
Like  a  God-inspired  prophet  His  people  among  ! 

Let  our  grief  rain  the  calm  drops  of  sorrowing  pride, 
Such  as  sad  Erin  wept  when  her  Owen  Roe  died  ! 
But  let  no  dastard  tear  of  a  helot  be  shed 
O'er  the  glorified  dust  of  the  mighty-soul'd  Dead  ! 


A  MOTHER'S  LAMENT  FOR  HER  INSANE 
DAUGHTER. 

Mavourneen  bhan  deelish  !    My  heart's  black  with  sorrow 

To  see  the  young  bloom  of  your  Reason  all  gone ! 
Whose  mind,  like  a  rainbow,  so  lately  could  borrow 

The  bright  hues  of  heaven  from  intellect's  sun  ! 
Mavrone,  oh,  mavourneen !     My  soul's  living  jewel  ! 

When  fate  flung  this  mist  on  the  beam  of  your  mind, 
We  thought  you'd  be  cured — but,  oh  !  God  !  'tis  too  cruel, 

To  see  your  young  spirit  still,  living  on,  blind  ! 

Oh,  innocent  darling,  my  poor,  stricken  daughter  ! 

Those  meaningless  smiles  on  your  cheek  seem  to  be 
Like  beams  on  the  face  of  the  cold,  heartless  water 

That  feels  not,  nor  cares  how  it  rolls  to  the  sea. 
The  heavens  may  smile,  but  you  heed  not  their  smiling, 

The  blossoms  may  blow,  but  you  see  not  their  bloom  ! 
The  mountains  look  grand  and  the  meadows  beguiling, 

But  you  are  as  cold  to  them  all  as  the  tomb  ! 

God's  worlds  of  light  may  roll  on  in  their  beauty, 

All  singing  His  anthems  of  love  round  the  Pole ; 
Their  splendour  and  beauty  ih  vain  may  salute  thee, 

Since  your  Reason's  bright  eye  lost  the  star  of  its  soul. 
Oh,  cuishla  mavourneen  !  thrice  black  was  the  season, 

When  this  soul-shrouding  shadow  hath  fallen  upon  thee ! 
Blighting  and  burning  the  flowers  of  thy  Reason, 

As  a  blast  tears  the  buds  from  a  young  summer  tree  ! 

Mavourneen  machree  !  you  once  made  my  life  sunny ! 

My  heart  drank  your  smiles  as  a  lily  drinks  dew  ! 
But  since  your  mind's  honeycomb  lost  its  bright  honey, 

I'm  like  a  poor,  lonely  bee  mourning  for  you ! 
How  long,  oh,  mo  stoir  !  will  your  young  spirit  linger 

In  blank,  dreary  shadows  of  dreamland  enshrined  ? 
May  the  angel  of  God,  with  his  bright  shining  finger, 

Brush  off  the  bleak  darkness  that's  clouding  your  mind  ! 


86  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

COME,  GENTLE  SPRING. 

(1862.)* 

Come,  gentle  Spring,  with  thy  blossoms  and  leaves, 

And  sweet  gales,  and  calm  skies  of  sapphire  and  gold ; 
With  thy  clear,  sunny  morns  and  soft,  shady  eves, 

Oh !  come,  gentle  Spring,  as  thou  earnest  of  old  ! 
I  have  watch'd  thy  first  bud  on  the  branch  of  the  tree ; 

I  have  mark'd  thy  first  tears  as  they  dropp'd  from  the  sky ; 
I  have  hail?d  thy  first  daisy,  adorning  the  lea, 

With  a  soft,  snowy  fringe  round  its  bright-yellow  eye  ! 

I  have  yearn'd  for  thy  beauty,  thro'  winter's  bleak  hours, 

When  the  silent  snow  lay  on  the  hill's  foggy  side ; 
I  have  dreamt  of  thy  verdure,  thy  sunbeams  and  showers, 

As  a  sick  lover  dreams  of  the  smiles  of  his  bride  ! 
I  have  welcomed  the  glow  of  thy  flower-nursing  sun, 

Thro'  his  red,  orient  curtain  of  rainbow-mist  seen, 
When  the  woods  put  the  robes  of  their  loveliness  on, 

And  the  rich,  glowing  landscape  look'd  flowery  and  green. 

Tho'  Seasons  have  vanish'd,  my  heart  is  the  same, 

Since,  in  boyhood's  first  glee,  'mid  thy  glories  I  trod, 
And  saw  thee  record,  with  a  finger  of  flame, 

On  mountain  and  meadow,  the  bounty  of  God! 
When,  like  two  lovely  sisters,  sweet  April  and  May, 

Thro'  our  bright,  showery  Island  went  laughing  along, 
And  rivall'd  each  other,  upon  their  green  way, 

With  smiles  rich  in  sunshine,  and  wild  bursts  of  song. 

But  now,  thou  art  sullen  and  dark,  gentle  Spring ! 
Thy  voice  has  no  music — thy  face  has  no  mirth; 
Cold  showers,  chilly  blasts,  and  black  vapours  you  bring, 

As  if  God's  love  and  bounty  had  fled  from  the  earth  ! 
Thy  days,  erst  so  golden,  wax  sickly  and  pale, 

Thy  skies,  erst  so  smiling,  look  cloudy  and  chill! 
Thy  infant  flowers  droop  in  the  half-perish'd  vale, 
I     As  if  winter's  bleak  shadows  had  linger'd  there  still ! 
■') 

tThe  small  brooks  to  broad  lakes  have  grown  with  thy  tears, 
And  the  young  apple-blossoms  are  slain  with  thy  breath, 
And  the  cold  wood,  half -naked  and  shivering,  appears 

To  whisper  some  dark  tale  of  famine  and  death  ! 
The  black  north-east  wind  shakes  the  sleet  from  its  wing, 
And  wails  o'er  the  plain,  like  a  funeral  cry  ; 
*  The  teds,  in  the  groves,  have  forgotten  to  sing, 
As  if  Nature,  in  tears,  was  preparing  to  die ! 

*  This  season,  like  the  present,  1879,  was  intensely  severe,  with  continuous 
rain,  blighting  winds,  gloomy  days,  &c. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  87 

Oh !  thou  once-gentle  and  bright-beaming  One ! 

Wilt  thou  cast  the  cold  frowns  of  thine  anger  away? 
And  put  on  a  new  dress  of  verdure  and  sun, 

And  welcome,  with  smiles,  thy  fair  daughter,  sweet  May? 
Oh !  throw  off  thy  dank  cloak  of  darkness,  and  smile, 

The  plume  of  the  raven  becomes  not  the  dove ; 
Pour  the  spirit  of  life  in  the  veins  of  the  soil, 

And  breathe  in  our  hearts  the  mild  sweets  of  thy  love ! 

THE  WIDOW'S  LAMENT.* 

Has  my  noble  one  perished? — Oh !  can  I  believe 

That  his  brightness  and  beauty  were  meant  for  the  grave? 

There's  a  pain  in  my  soul,  for  the  tear-fountains  there 

Have  been  dash'd  to  my  eyes  by  the  stroke  of  despair! 

O'er  my  spirit  a  desolate  midnight  is  cast, 

Like  a  blight  where  the  black-footed  plague-fiend  hath  pass'd ; 

Oh !  the  chords  of  my  bosom  are  bleeding  and  torn, 

And  my  brain,  like  the  bed  of  a  furnace,  doth  burn! 

Has  the  palm  of  my  heart's  summer  garden  been  stole, 

Whose  sunny  bloom  sweeten'd  the  bower  of  my  soul? 

Where  his  image  has  sunk  itself  deep,  as  the  beam 

Of  the  yellow-brow'd  sun  in  the  breast  of  the  stream. — 

Is  he  gone? — Oh !  my  God !  I  imagine  the  ray 

Of  earth's  glory  is  quench'd  since  you  call'd  him  away ! 

There's  a  shadow  o'er  all — Heaven  seems  to  my  sight, 

As  if  Death  held  his  wing  between  earth  and  its  light. 

Let  me  weep  o'er  my  love,  'till  his  white  face  appears 

Melting  back  into  life,  with  the  light  of  my  tears ! 

'Till  death,  at  my  heart-burst  of  anguish,  shall  breathe 

A  sigh  of  regret  for  the  wreck  he  has  made! 

Ah,  my  Idol !  thou'rt  silent  and  frozen,  as  snow, 

But  the  stamp  of  thy  soul  is  yet  fair  on  thy  brow; 

Like  a  pensive  beam  left  on  a  gray  cloud  alone 

In  the  West,  when  the  flame  of  the  Day-God  is  gone  ! 

The  rich,  silken  fringe  of  the  ringlets  that  gemmd 

Thy  forehead  hangs  yet  o'er  its  white  throne  undimm'd; 

But  the  bright  berry-stain  of  thy  lip  had  not  fled, 

Could  I  kiss  a  new  soul  in  its  crescent  of  red ! 

Yes !  thy  brow  yet  has  light  on  its  snow-palace  fair, 

O  God!  what  a  halo  of  manhood  was  there! 

What  a  sun-torrent  flash'd  from  the  wells  of  those  eyes, 

Like  morning's  gemm'd  arrows  shot  down  from  the  skies! 

While  my  heart  to  the  music  that  burst  from  thy  mouth, 

Danced' light,  as  a  flower  in  the  gale  of  the  South! 

*  The  above  lament  was  composed  for  a  gentleman  of  great  worth,  and 
learning,  who  died  suddenly  in  Limerick  some  years  ago.  He  was  re- 
spected and  loved,  by  all  classes  of  the  community,  for  his  true  goodness  of 
heart  and  brilliant  attainments. 

This  accomplished  person  was  William  Fitzgerald,  Mayor  of  Limerick,  in 
1861.    His  death  occurred  in  the  year  of  his  mayoralty. 


88  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

And  thou'rt  gone  from  my  soul  and  the  babes  of  thy  love? 

So  sudden — Oh !  Merciful  Maker  above ! 

When  you  summon 'd  my  darling  for  ever  from  me, 

Had  I  seen  the  dread  angel  that  brought  the  decree, 

At  his  dark,  awful  feet  I  would  fling  myself  down, 

And  my  heart,  wing'd  with  prayer,  would  rush  up  to  Thy 

Throne! 
And  I'd  clasp  in  my  arms  his  pinions'  black  plume, — 
Tho'  the  light  of  my  eyes  were  struck  dead  with  his  gloom, — 
And  I'd  show  him  my  babes,  and  implore  him  to  spare 
Their  sire,  'till  he'd  listen  and  yield  to  my  prayer, 
And  pity  my  madness  of  grief,  and  depart 
With  his  gloomy  wing  moist  with  the  tears  of  my  heart! 
Oh !  I'd  tell  all  the  bounties  my  darling's  hand  spread, 
And  I'd  number  the  widows  and  orphans  he  fed — 
But  I'm  raving — I'm  raving — the  blast  on  the  plain 
Of  the  desert,  can  not  be  so  wild  as  my  brain ! 

Oh!  his  spirit  was  rich  as  a  golden  Spring-day, 

And  no  cloud  ever  shadow'd  the  calm  of  its  ray ; 

And  the  high,  noble  tone  of  his  manners  and  mind, 

Like  a  magnet,  drew  round  him  the  hearts  of  mankind : 

His  wisdom,  his  talent,  his  beauty ! — 0  Heaven ! 

Was  it  all  for  the  grave  that  such  bright  gifts  were  given? 

Ha!  see  how  the  pale-handed  Angel  succeeds 

In  destroying  Earth's  blossoms  while  sparing  the  weeds! 

Sure  my  lost  one  was  generous  in  kind  deeds,  each  day, 

And  a  halo  of  blessings  was  shower'd  on  his  way ; 

But  all  could  not  shield  his  young  heart  from  the  stroke 

That  slew  him,  as  steel  slays  the  stately  hill-oak  ! 

Oh!  the  dim  sky  appears  like  a  winding-sheet  spread, 

And  the  face  of  the  earth  to  my  vision  looks  dead ! 

And  the  moaning  of  ghosts  seems  to  come  in  my  ears, 

And  the  City  looks  black  with  a  rain-mist  of  tears ! 

The  carriage  of  death,  with  its  raven-like  plume, 

Is  waiting  to  take  you  away  to  the  tomb ; 

But  I'll  not  let  you  go — they'll  not  take  you  from  me, 

'Till  I  empty  my  heart  of  its  last  drop  o'er  thee! 

'Till  my  eye-founts,  exhausted,  in  darkness  shall  swim, 

And  my  soul,  in  a  blood-circle,  melt  on  their  rim! 

Ah !  the  grave-stone  that  soon  shall  close  o'er  thy  young  brow, 

Has  a  shadow  less  black  than  my  dreary  heart  now  ! 

The  day -beam  of  heaven  shall  brighten  no  more 

Thy  face  that  so  proudly  God's  grand  image  bore ; 

And  the  worms  shall  creep  thro'  those  ringlets  of  light 

That  flowed,  like  calm  rays  round  a  summer-cloud  white  !  - 

Thou  wilt  lie  in  the  clay — in  the  deep  horrid  gloom — 

And  I'll  sit,  in  my  desolate  sorrow,  at  home, 

With  my  spirit  in  streams,  and  thy  babes  at  my  knee 

Looking  round,  with  their  innocent  blue  eyes,  for  thee ! 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

THE  DARK-HAIRED  BOY, 

Camailte's  hill  is  bright, 

With  its  scarf  of  azure-sheen, 
And  the  glowing  gems  of  heaven 

In  its  glist'ning  crown  of  green  : 
But  I  know  a  dark  hair'd  youth, 

With  a  heart  as  bright  and  high 
As  the  cloud  that  drinks  the  sunbeam 

On  its  summit,  in  the  sky. 
'Twas  on  a  bright  red  eve, 

In  the  fiery  month  of  June, 
When  the  heavens  seem  to  boast 

They  can  do  without  the  moon, 
I  put  on  my  Sunday  gown, 

With  three  flashy  flounces  gay, 
And  green  as  that  wild  meadow 

Where  the  mountain  Fairies  play. 

To  the  crossing  of  four  roads, 

Where  the  dance  was  held,  I  sped, 
With  some  notion,  I  believe, 

Of  a  lover,  in  my  head ! 
The  boys  and  maids  were  up 

In  their  native  jigs  and  reels, 
And  you'd  think  the  very  wind 

Lent  its  pinions  to  their  heels. 
I  sat  upon  the  hedge-bank, 

Looking — laughing — at  the  fun, 
With  my  heart  upon  a  thorn, 

Till  the  merry  reel  was  done ; 
Then  a  slender,  dark-hair'd  boy, 

With  a  playful,  smiling  glance. 
Came,  and  bowing,  took  my  hand. 

And  invited  me  to  dance. 

I  rose  slowly  to  my  feet, 

And  pretended  to  look  shy, 
While  the  heart,  within  my  breast, 

Gave  a  ringing  laugh  of  joy. 
O'er  the  white  face  of  the  road, 

Our  quick  feet  chased  the  tune 
Of  "The  Piper  in  the  Meadow!" 

And  the  merry  "Young  May  Moon! 
Oh !  I  never  felt  so  glad, 

And  I  never  danced  so  light, 
But  when  I  turn'd  home, 

Little  I  did  sleep  that  night. 
At  last  when  slumber  came — 

It  was  but  to  cheat  me  then — 
I  was  dancing,  in  a  dream, 

With  the  dark-hair'd  boy  again ! 
7 


90  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

When  day  roll'd  o'er  the  fields 

Its  yellow,  glancing  ring, 
I  took  my  milking-can, 

And  went  for  water  to  the  spring  : 
But  as  I  stood  awhile, 

In  the  meadow,  looking  round, 
O'er  the  blooming  thorn  fence 

Came  my  dark  boy,  with  a  bound. 
How  I  felt  I  could  not  tell, 

Were  I  speaking  for  a  week  ; 
But  I  thought  my  leaping  heart 

Flung  red  fire  upon  my  cheek  ; 
He  spoke  a  few  kind  words, 

And,  I  think,  they  had  the  tone 
Of  the  airy  sounds  that  float 

Round  the  summer's  leafy  throne. 

I  gazed  upon  his  locks, 

All  as  curling  and  as  black 
As  a  raven-bosom'd  cloud, 

With  a  sunburst  on  its  back  ; 
And  his  eye  laugh'd,  like  a  gem 

In  a  shaded  pearl-ring, 
.  As  he  took  my  yielding  hand, 

And  came  with  me  to  the  spring. 
We  sat  upon  the  marge, 

Where  flowers,  red,  white,  and  blue, 
In  their  green  beds,  slept  away, 

Their  carouse  of  gushing  dew. 
By  the  crystal-bosom'd  well, 

There  weftalk'd  for  two  long  hours, 
While  his  words  grew  round  my  heart, 

Like  a  glowing  zone  of  flowers. 

And  when  we  'rose  to  part, 

And  he  turn'd  to  go  away, 
Oh  !  I'd  give  the  whole  wide  world 

To  be  near  him  all  the  day  ! 
He  said  he  loved  me  truly, 

And  his  bright  eyes  seem'd  to  swear 
That  each  tender  word  he  utter'd, 

From  his  young  heart,  was  sincere. 
Oh  !  I'll  wear  no  other  gown, 

But  the  green  one,  every  day, 
For  its  colour  is  so  rich, 

And  its  flounces  are  so  gay  ; 
A  gentle,  Irish  maiden 

To  her  Irish  lover  's  seen 
In  the  true  light  of  her  beauty, 

When  she's  dress'd  in  native  green ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  91 


THE  WOODS  AND  WATERFALLS  OF  DOONASS. 

When  the  calm  sunset  firing  its  red  gold  on  the  heather, 
And  the  clouds  on  the  gray  hills  were  resting  together, 
And  the  winds,  as  if  tired  of  their  sporting  thro'  heaven, 
Fell  asleep  on  the  white,  silver  bosom  of  even, 
Then  I  stray'd — as  one  strays  in  a  splendid  night-vision, 
'Mid  scenes  robed  in  glory,  all  wildly  Elysian — 
Where  Doonass  lifts  to  heaven  its  forests  of  darkness, 
And  the  naked  rocks  frown,  in  their  desolate  starkness  ! 

The  sapphire-zoned  moon,  in  her  mid-summer  mildness, 
Lit  the  lone,  dreary  night-scene  of  beautiful  wildness, 
And  the  gloom-shrouded  forest,  deep,  silent,  and  hoary, 
Received,  with  cold  frowns,  the  rich  gift  of  her  glory  ; 
While  convulsively  roar'd  the  dread  cascade  gigantic, 
As  if  giving  birth  to  another  Atlantic  ; 
And  its  surges  leap'd  madly,  o'er  rocks  rent  asunder, 
Like  a  host  of  white  demons  with  trumpets  of  thunder. 

Where  the  woods  shake  their  crowns,  'mid  the  hall  of  the 

lightning, 
O'er  the  battle  of  torrents,  all  whirling  and  whitening, 
Stretching  down  to  the  wild  flood  their  arms  stupendous — 
As  if  conciliating  the  giant  tremendous — 
I  sat  on  a  bank,  with  pale  summer-gems  spangled, 
O'erscreened   by   those  boughs,   with    their  green   shadows 

tangled, 
While  the  dim,  silvery  spray,  from  the  dashing  Falls  driven, 
Gleam'd  on  them,  like  sparks  from  the  star-fires  of  heaven. 

In  the  bloom- co ver'd  parterres,  that  o'er  me  ascended, 

Earth's  sweetness,  with  all  heaven's  brightness,  seem'd  blended ; 

Spring's  wardrobe,  where  Nature  puts  on  her  choice  dresses, 

When  virgin  May  's  coming  to  meet  her  caresses, 

Like  breathings  of  angels,  the  winds  from  the  meadows, 

With  murmurs  of  joy,  fell  asleep  in  their  shadows  ; 

And  the  woods'  moonlight  helmets  seem'd  lightly  to  quiver, 

As  timing  the  organ-toned  song  of  the  river. 

The  charms  of  Hy  Brazil,*  by  spirit-hands  painted, 
'Mid  the  waves'  sunset  glory,  ne'er  look'd  so  enchanted, 
As  fairy  Doonass,  when  the  Night  Queen  doth  render 
The  spell  of  her  beams  to  its  wild  summer  splendour. 

*  A  beautiful  phantom  Island,  called  Hy  Brazil,  is  said,  by  the  peasantry 
of  Arran,  to  make  its  appearance  above  the  waters  of  the  Atlantic,  clothed 
with  indescribable  splendour ;  but  any  one  attempting  to  visit  it  is  sure 
never  to  return.  It  was  in  early  ages  supposed  to  be  the  Elysian  Bower  of 
the  Pagan  Irish,  i.  e.,  Tir-na-n-oge. 

See  Gerald  Griffin's  magnificent  Poem  on  Hy  Brazil,  and  another  en  the 
same  subject  by  the  talented  R.  D.  Joyce. 


92  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

As  dreamland  appears  to  the  soul  of  the  sleeper, 
Changing  wilder  and  brighter,  and  darker  and  deeper, 
Thus  rose  the  weird  landscape  of  grandeur  before  me, 
Like  an  Eden,  just  dropp'd  from  the  star-islands  o'er  me. 

Bank,  bower,  hill  and  lawn,  look'd  so  richly  united, 

They  seem'd  with  each  other's  wild  beauty  delighted  ; 

While  the  planets,  as  wrapt  in  sublime  meditation, 

Hung  o'er  the  bright  picture,  in  mute  adoration ! 

Oh !  to  see  it,  when  Morn,  with  her  vesture  of  whiteness, 

Walks  o'er  the  blue  hills,  in  her  new-born  brightness  ! 

What  a  grand,  fairy  halo  of  magic  glows  round  it, 

When  the  rich  sunny  splendour  of  daylight  has  crowned  it  ! 

Then  look,  with  thy  soul,  from  that  Eden  of  sweetness, 
On  the  glories  that  circle  the  river's  wild  fleetness  ; 
From  gay  Castle  Connell,*  and  Erina's  green  alleys, 
To  lordly  Mount  Shannon  of  flower-cover'd  valleys  : 
Feast  thine  eyes  on  those  scenes,  all  with  magic  abounding, 
Hear  the  waterfalls'  thunderous  music  resounding  ; 
And  thou'lt  feel  that  the  seasons  ne'er  paid  their  bright  visit 
To  a  landscape  of  beauty  so  wildly  exquisite  ! 

Behold  it  in  Springtime — how  vernal  and  bowery  ! 
Behold  it  in  Summer — how  radiant  and  flowery  ! 
Behold  it  in  Autumn — romantic  and  airy  ! 
Behold  it  in  Winter — how  awful  and  dreary  ! 
In  Springtime  the  greenest !  in  Autumn  the  mildest ! 
In  Summer  the  grandest !  in  Winter  the  wildest ! 
O  Nature  !  thou  st  painted  no  scenes  to  surpass 
The  bright  waterfalls  and  green  woods  of  Doonass ! 


O'NEILL'S  GATHERING. 

A  BARDIC  WAR  ODE. 

The  clans  are  trooping  from  the  hills — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  !f 
Wild  their  martial  war-cry  swells — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo ! 
High  waves  the  Bloody  Hand 
Over  the  rushing  band, 
That  burns  to  bleed  for  Erin's  land — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 

*  Properly,  Castle  Connaing.  It  derived  its  name  from  the  once  powerful 
family  of  O'Connaing,  or  Gunning,  who  inherited  the  Castle  and  ruled  the 
districts  around.  It  is  stated  that  a  troop  of  cavalry  could  manoeuvre  in  the 
great  hall  of  this  mighty  fortress.  Itself  and  Carrigogunnell  were  almost 
entirely  blown  up  by  gunpowder,  after  the  Siege  of  Limerick,  by  a  paid 
Vandal,  named  Ormsby. 

t  The  Red  Hand  for  erer—  the  war-cry  of  O'Neill's  clansmen. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  93 

Here  come  O'Donnell's  spears — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 
Hark  !  how  Tyrconnell  cheers, 

Bataillah  Aboo  ! 
Here  comes  the  proud  O'Neill, 
Flaming  with  Freedom's  zeal, 
In  Saxon  blood  to  plunge  his  steel — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 

Who  would  be  so  base  or  mean, 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 
To  kneel  before  the  Saxon  Queen  ? 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo ! 
Oh,  sun !  withdraw  thy  blessed  ray  ! 
And,  Mother  Earth,  dissolve  away, 
Ere  we  behold  that  hateful  day  ! 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 

Still  the  blood  of  mighty  kings — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo ! 
In  O'Neill's  proud  bosom  springs — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo ! 
The  rushing  sea  shall  turn  to  stone, 
And  heaven  and  earth  in  fetters  groan 
Ere  he  shall  bow  before  her  throne — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 

Now  is  the  time  to  know — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo ! 
Erin's  true  friend  or  foe — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 
Ye  who  feel  Erin's  woe — 
Ye  who  hate  Erin's  foe — 
Forward,  and  strike  the  blow ! 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo ! 

Fetters  and  famine-graves — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo ! 
Are  the  reward  of  slaves — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 
Sons  of  the  brave  and  free, 
Lovers  of  Liberty ! 
Onward  to  victory ! 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo !   . 

Who'd  prefer  a  shackled  hand — 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 
To  a  brave  battle-brand  ? 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 
Shackled  hands,  let  them  stay 
Battle  brands  !  up — away  ! 
Freedom  is  yours  to-day  ! 

Lamh  dearg  Aboo  ! 


94  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND, 

THE  BATTLE  OF  CLONTIBRET.* 
(a.d.  1593.) 

The  noonday  sun,  at  Clontibret,  blazed  on  the  helms  and 

spears 
Of  Norrey's  far-extended  ranks  and  Segraye's  cuirassiers, 
While  closely  set,  in  grand  array,  with  sparths  all  naming 

bright, 
Stood  princely  Hugh's  embattled  clans,  fierce,  thirsting  for  the 

fight. 

High  in  the  Chief's  refulgent  van  the  royal  Red  Hand  stream'd, 
And  many  a  princely  helm  beneath  that  glorious  banner  beam'  d ; 
And  many  a  stalwart  arm  of  wrath,  and  many  a  heart  of  fire, 
Thirsted  to  drown,  in  Saxon  blood,  the  Gael's  eternal  ire. 

Along  the  vale  one  burning  sea  of  polish'd  steel  is  pour'd, 
One  furious  surge  of  human  force,  with  many  a  lifted  sword  ; 
A  Nation's  spirit  blazing  up  'gainst  foreign  fraud  and  might, 
A  Nation's  hand,  in  vengeance  raised,  to  guard  her  sacred 
right. 

Hoi   Norreys,  tho'  thy  alien  powers  in  arms  and  gold  are 

strong, 
They  soon  shall  feel  the   dire  result  of  Right  confronting 

Wrong  ; 
Not  one  of  all  thy  pirate  tribe,  embattled  for  the  fray, 
Shall  e'er  forget  the  black  defeat  that  waits  them  here  to-day. 

Now  swelling  wild,  along  the  plain,  the  thunderous  war-notes 

ring, 
And  with  their  peal  a  roar  of  arms  resounds  from  wing  to  wing, 
As. when,  upon  the  darken'd  main,  a  sudden  whirlwind  springs, 
And  in  the  angry  face  of  heaven  the  boiling  ocean  flings. 

Now  forward,  in  tempestuous  sweep,  with  lifted  spear  and 

targe, 
Across  the  stream,  like  hungry  wolves,  the  Saxon  columns 

charge  ; 
But  back  they  reel,  before  their  foes,  upon  the  river's  banks, 
As  if  a  shower  of  heaven's  bolts  had  cleft  their  bleeding  ranks. 

With  loud  harangue,  and  gesture  stern,  their  General  checks 

the  flight, 
And,  wheeling  back  their  bristling  tide,  renew'd  the  furious 

fight; 

*  Five  miles  from  the  town  of  Monaghan  lies  the  celebrated  battle-field 
of  Clontibret,  where  Hugh  O'Neill,  Prince  of  Ulster,  defeated  a  great  Eng- 
lish army,  commanded  by  General  Norreys.  and  in  the  thick  of  the  con- 
flict, encountered  and  slt>w  Se^rave,  a  Meathiau  officer  of  gigantic  stature, 
who  headed  a  body  of  English  cavalry. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  95 

Then  blazed  the  muskets  of  the  Gael  along  the  blasted  plain, 
Then  crash'd  the  axe,  and  rung  the  sword,   and  swell'd  the 
Saxon  slain. 

The  grim,  ascending  cloud  of  war  shut  out  the  burning  sun, 
And  swathed,  in  its  ghastly  folds,  the  flash  of  sword  and  gun, 
'Till  rolling,  like  a  stream  of  fire,  from  out  its  deadly  shade, 
The  Saxon  ranks,  in  frantic  rout,  across  the  river  sway'd. 

Again  they  rally  and  return— again  the  conflict's  roar, 

Like  the  dread  voice  of  an  earthquake,  rolls  along  the  sounding 

shore ; 
Again  the  bosom  of  the  plain  is  wrapt  in  lurid  flame  ; — 
Again  the  broken  Saxon  host  is  driven  o'er  the  stream. 

Now  thrice  across  that  blood-dyed  stream,   the  scourgers  of 

the  world, 
With  shatter'd  ranks,   and  tatter'd  flags,   in  headlong  flight 

were  hurl'd ; 
Each  time  a  grove  of  reeking  steel  was  buried  in  their  frames, 
And  thickly  burst  the  rain  of  death  in  smoking  lochs  and 

streams. 

And  yet,  tho'  crush'd  and  gored  beneath  the  Gael's  avenging 

hand, 
Brave  Norreys  from  disgraceful  flight  prevents  his  bleeding 

band ; 
0  gallant  Chief  !  in  vain  you  try  to  turn  the  battle's  scale, 
'Tis  not  in  human  power  to  wrest  the  victory  from  the  Gael ! 

Tall  Segrave,  with  his  dread  array  of  cavalry,  sweeps  on, 
And  crushingly  drives  down  upon  the  horsemen  of  Tyrone  ; 
He  sees  their  chieftain  in  the  van,  majestically  proud, 
And  radiant,  as  a  fiery  star  before  a  tempest-cloud. 

As  leaps  from  Galtees'  misty  head  its  lightning-diadem, 
And  shoots,  with  hissing  wrath,  along  the  forest's  branchy  rim, 
So  sprang  the  vengeful  giant,  with  an  avalanche's  bound, 
Upon  the  Prince  of  high  Tyrone,  with  all  his  chiefs  around. 

As  rapid  as  a  meteor-flash,  O'Neill  laid  lance  in  rest, 

The  furious  chiefs  met,  hand  to  hand— their  war-steeds,  breast 

to  breast, 
The  steel-plates  burst— the  steeds  roll  back,  each  neighing,  as 

he  reels, — 
Like  rocks  against  each  other  hurl'd   from  two  adjoining 

hills. 

With  flaming  eyes,  and  cloudy  brows,   and  lance  to  targe 

opposed, 
Again,  in  dire  and  deadly  shock,  the  powerful  warriors  closed 


96  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Upon  each  corslet's  sounding  plate,  the  buzzing  spears  are 

broke, 
And  horse  and  man,  on  either  side,  swerve  backward  from 

the  stroke. 

As  towers  the  gloomy  sea-cliff  o'er  the  angry-foaming  brine — 
As  on  the  valley's  kingly  oak  looks  down  the  mountain-pine, 
So  glared  fierce  Segrave  on  O'Neill,  with  vengeance  in  his 

frown, 
And  raised  his  iron-sheathed  hand  to  strike  the  Chieftain 

down. 

O'Neill,  with  one  fierce  tiger-clutch,  the  raging  giant  grasp'd, 
With  straining  arms,  like  iron-bands  around  a  castle  clasp'd ; 
Like  waves  beneath  two  striking  ships,  their  stumbling  horses 

rock'd, 
While  in  that  dreadful  steel-embrace  the  mighty  Chiefs  were 

lock'd. 

Both  hosts  stood  gazing  at  the  strife — the  roaring  of  the  fray 

Subsided  into  silence,  like  a  sudden  frozen  sea — 

While,  'mid  that  standing  wave  of  death,  with  sinewy  tug  and 

strain, 
The  grappling  champions  from  their  steeds  roll  headlong  to 

the  plain. 

As  two  gigantic  mountain-elms,  by  wintry  blasts  uptore, 
Come  down,  with  tangled  branches,  to  the  earth  with  crashing 

roar, 
Thus,  in  each  other's  death-grips  lock'd,  the  furious  warriors 

g° 
Down  on  the  field,  with  fierce  O'Neill  above  his  mighty  foe. 

One  moment's  dreadful  struggle — then  a  deep  death-groan 

succeeds — 
O'Neill  spring  up,  and  there,  unmoved,  the  prostrate  giant 
,      bleeds  ! 
Ho  !  Saxons  !  where's  your  champion  now  ?  his  ponderous  iron 

mail 
Was  but  slight  proof  against  the  sword  and  vengeance  of  the 

Gael! 

dash'd  the  clans,  with  bursting  cheers  that  tore  the  ringing 

heaven, 
And,  like  a  storm-toss'd  field  of  corn,  the  Saxon  host  is  riven  ; 
Before  the  blazing  tide  of  steel  the  sinking  ranks  expire, 
As  falls  the  crackling  forest  in  a  sweeping  flood  of  fire  ! 

The  Saxons  fly  in  bloody  rout  and  direful  disarray, 

As  when  a  whirlwind,  from  the  mead,  sweeps  off  the  tangled 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  97 

Behind  them,  like  a  frantic  surge,  their  foes  with  axe  and 

spear, 
A  deluge  of  destruction  roll  upon  their  broken  rere. 

There's  harping  in  Dungannon's  towers,  and  high  Tyrconnell's 

hall, 
And  paeans  ring  from  green  Tyrone  to  regal  Donegal ; 
And  bonfires  blaze,  and  minstrels  sing,  in  palace,  town,  and 

vale, 
How  Britain's  might  sunk  down  before  the  valour  of  the  Gael. 


MAGGIE  BHAN. 
Have  ye  seen  young  Maggie  Bhan  ? 

Sweet  as  an  apple-tree  in  May — 
She's  gone  to  town,  since  early  dawn, 

To  buy  her  wedding-dress  to-day : 
The  lily  on  the  bank's  green  side — 

The  wild  rose  on  its  thorny  throne — 
Hath  not  the  glow  of  modest  pride 

That  in  her  gentle  features  shone. 

When  village  maidens  bleach'd  their  clothes 

Upon  the  sunny  hedges  green, 
Among  the  snow-white  linen  rows 

Young  Maggie's  were  the  whitest  seen  ; 
When  at  the  needle  and  the  reel, 

Her  work  it  was  the  neatest  done  ; 
When  at  the  busy  spinning-wheel, 

Her  flax  it  was  the  finest  spun. 

Young  Donald  of  the  cairn,  came  down 

To  court  the  maid,  but  woo'd  in  vain  ; 
To  all  his  words  her  ear  was  stone 

That  heeds  not  sunshine,  wind  or  rain. 
Her  father  press'd — her  mother  pray'd 

The  maiden  to  receive  his  suit, 
With  glowing  cheek  and  eye,  she  said, 

"  I  do  not  fear  to  tell  the  truth  ! — 

* '  Young  Donald's  rich  in  kine  and  gold, 

And  yet  to  whom  has  he  been  kind  ? 
A  selfish,  sordid,  spirit  cold, 

Proclaims  his  barren,  wintry  mind  ! 
The  flower  can  sooner  love  the  blast 

That  bites  it  on  its  gentle  stem, 
Than  I  shall  have  my  fortunes  cast 

With  any  heartless  churl,  like  him ! 

"To  Connor  Oge  I'll  give  my  hand, 
Nor  care  for  censure,  nor  applause  ; 

His  gallant  father  lost  his  land, 
For  he  was  true  to  Ireland's  cause ! 


98  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  though  he  has  no  gold,  or  farm, 
An  honest,  loving  heart  has  he  ; 

A  noble  will,  and  manly  arm, 
Right  able  to  provide  for  me ! 

"  He  that  loves  not  his  native  Land, 

Nor  love  for  God,  nor  man  can  feel ; 
But  Connor  has  a  heart  and  hand 

To  dare  and  do  for  Erin's  weal ! 
I  would  be  rich,  at  his  dear  side, 

Tho'  asking  alms  from  door  to  door  ; 
But  to  be  heartless  Donald's  bride, 

With  all  his  gold  I'd  still  be  poor !" 


TO  THE  MEMORY  OF  "UNA." 

The  gTeat  Irish-American  Poetess,  horn  in  the  county  Antrim,  1841,  died 
in  Brooklyn,  after  a  short  illness,  April,  1876,  justly  regretted  by  thousands, 
throughout  all  America,  and  elsewhere.  Her  poems  teem  with  rare  original 
beauty,  piety  of  a  heavenly  order,  and  patriotism  of  the  grandest  stamp. 

Thou  heaven-gifted  spirit  of  beautiful  song  ! 
Dearest  "  Una,"  farewell  !  we'll  remember  thee  long  ! 
And  the  spell  of  thy  genius  shall  breathe  evermore 
Thro  Columbia's  wide  regions  and  Erin's  green  shore  ! 

Attuned  by  the  glorious  Creator  alone, 

Thy  lyre  hath  a  charm  ethereal  in  its  tone  ! 

Like  the  sky -bird  that  springs  from  the  flower-haloed  sod, 

Thro'  the  sun-clouds  of  morning  to  warble  for  God  ! 

Rich  as  spring  buds  refreshed  by  the  dawn's  virgin  dew, 
Thy  blossoms  of  soul  into  loveliness  grew  ! 
Bright,  beauteous  and  brief  was  thy  life's  summer  day, 
While  thy  mind,  like  a  rose,  gave  its  sweetness  away  ! 

Heaven  call'd  thee,  loved  "  Una  !"  to  join  its  sweet  band, 
And  the  harp  of  the  Lord  is  now  touch'd  by  thy  hand  ! 
Of  thy  soul's  seraph  melody  earth  hath  its  share, 
And  immortal  as  Nature  thy  praise  shall  be  there  ! 


THE  EVICTED  PEASANT, 

Midnight  raves  in  gloomy  anger — hoarse  and  rough  the  ice- 
winds  blow — 

And  the  bleak  face  of  the  darkness  wears  a  streaming  veil  of 
snow ; 

But  our  hearth  is  cold  and  empty,  and  our  little  hut  is  bare, 

And,  0  God  !  my  gentle  Eily  lies  in  famine-fever  there  ! 

Come,  Father — oh  !  come  quickly— with  the  Sacrament  and 
prayer, 

My  stricken  angel's  dying,  and  you  have  no  time  to  spare  ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  99 

God  look  upon  my  sorrow  !    Holy  Saviour,  dear  !  I  pray, 
Recall — recall  thy  dread  decree — or  take  us  both  away  ! 

The  Priest  obey'd  the  summons,  and  has  flung  his  garment  on, 
And  away  thro'  drift  and  darkness  with  the  peasant  he  has 

gone ; 
The  snow  fell  densely  round  them,  silent,  desolate,  sublime, 
Like  a  white  pall  flung  by  Mercy  o'er  a  world  black  with 

crime  ! 
Beside  the  dismal  highway  'rose  a  heap  of  straw  and  mud, 
That,  like  a  thing  of  blackness,  on  the  winter-carpet  stood  ; 
There  the  mournful  peasant  enter 'd,  with  the  muffled  Priest 

behind, 
Into  the  dreary  chamber  where  the  stricken  one  reclined. 

A  rush-light's  feeble  flicker  by  a  lowly  pallet  shone, 
Like  a  solitary  moonbeam  thro'  a  churchyard  shadow  thrown, 
And  its  misty  gleam  show'd  nothing  to  the  gazer's  eye  at  all, 
Save  the  bleeding  Saviour's  image,  o'er  the  sick  one,  on  the 

wall! 
"Eily  !   darling,  here's  the  Priest  !"  the  shivering  husband 

said, 
As  with  a  stealing  footstep,  he  approach'd  the  wretched  bed  : 
"  Are  you  sleeping  ? — oh  !  my  dear  one  !" — but  she  breathed  no 

reply, 
And  the  dark  fringe  show'd  no  motion  o'er  the  dead  beam  of 

her  eye. 

And  her  face  was  like  the  shadow  of  the  midnight  moon's 

eclipse, 
For  the  snow  of  death  had  fallen  on  the  rose-bloom  of  her 

lips; 
And  the  soul  that  lent  the  spring-beam  of  its  brightness  to 

those  eyes, 
Had  taken  back  its  radiance  to  its  Maker  in  the  skies. 
*  Eily,  love  !  dear  !  don't  you  hear  me  ?"  and  he  softly  laid 

his  hand 
Where  her  rich  hair's  sleeping  billow  edged  her  forehead's 

waxen  strand ; 
But  its  touch  of  freezing  chillness  to  his  fever'd  pulses  told 
That  the  life-flame  of  her  spirit  was  extinguish'd  in  its  mould. 

Oh  !  he  tost  his  arms  wildly — and  a  shriek  of  horror  burst, 
As  if  life  and  death  were  wrestling  in  his  tenement  of  dust  ! 
And  he  flung  his  arms  round  her,  and  his  strong  cry  of  despair 
Seem'd  to  follow  her  free  spirit  thro'  the  broad  plains  of  the 

air. 
''Eily!  Eily  !  did  you  leave  me?  Oh  !  what  did  the  Angels 

say 
In  my  absence — in  my  absence,   when  you   stole  from  me, 

away  ? 


100  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Ah  !  if  all  the  world  had  left  me,  I  would  not  fret  nor  care, 
While  the  sunlight  of  your  loving  eyes  was  shining  near  me 
there ! 

Sure  our  hearts  for  one  another,  with  the  flame  of  love  were 

bright, 
And  the  wintry  cloud  of  poverty  could  never  quench  its  light ; 
Thy  pure  image,  like  a  glory,  on  my  spirit's  eye  was  cast, 
Oh  !  I  worshipp'd  and  I  loved  you,  and  you're  gone  from  me 

at  last  ! 
The  night  is  wild  and  stormy — 'tis  too  cold  for  you  to  go, 
But  you  care  not  for  the  tempest,  with  its  flying  robe  of  snow — 
Nor  the  wind,  nor  drift,  nor  darkness  could  harm  your  spirit's 

wings, 
As  they  flash'd  o'er  midnight's  cloud-throne  up  to  heaven's 

sunny  springs ! 

Oh  !  our  bridal  day  was  splendid,  as  the  sun-zoned  summer's 

skies, 
And  your  beauty  made  the  world  look  like  heaven  to  my  eyes  ! 
While  your  bosom's  snow  was  heaving,  with  its  pulses'  joyful 

play, 
Like  a  bough  of  milk-white  blossoms  in  the  honied  breath  of 

May ! 
As  we  linger'd  by  the  wild  Lake — we  shall  linger  there  no 

more — 
Like  its  music-breathing  waters,  our  hearts  ran,  gushing  o'er, 
With  the  sunshine  of  the  present,  while  the  gloomy  future 

lay, 
Like  a  cloud-built  rainbow  palace  raised,  and  painted  with  a 

ray. 

How  I  pull'd  the  red-lipp'd  wild-flowers !  how  I  flung  them  on 
your  breast ! 

Like  May  eve's  sunny  roses  in  the  bosom  of  the  West — 

While  your  sweet  laugh,  thro'  the  meadow,  like  an  air-harp's 
song,  was  thrown, 

The  echoes,  from  each  other,  seem'd  to  snatch  its  golden  tone  : 

And  we  rested  on  the  moss-bank  where  the  yellow  beams  lay 
bright, 

And  your  wild,  glad  eyes  were  dancing,  like  two  fairy  springs 
of  light; 

And  the  Lake's  gold  curls  before  us,  in  bright  rings  of  splen- 
dour run, 

Like  a  shower  of  fire-gems  shaken  from  the  forehead  of  the 
sun. 

Oh !  you  wove  a  zone  of  magic  round  my  spirit's  pinion,  then, 
On  the  bright  lake's  green-fring'd  border,— -now  I  think  we're 
there  again ; 


mnp 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  101 

And  I  feel  your  sweet  eyes  on  me,  like  the  blessed  rays  that 
fall 

On  the  captive's  vision'd  freedom  in  his  dreary  prison  hall ; 

And  your  hair  streams,  like  a  cloud-wreath,  when  the  moun- 
tain's snow-gemm'd  peak 

Steals  a  kiss  of  flashing  glory  from  the  morning's  brilliant 
cheek  ; 

And  your  glances — like  a  star-gush,  'mid  the  darkness  of  the 
Pole — 

Shoot  their  radiant  points  of  beauty  thro'  the  bosom  of  my 
soul ! 

But  the  honey  of  our  happiness  was  changed  to  bitter  gall, 
And  'twas  not  the  will  of  God,  love  !  sure  'twas  man  that  did 

it  all  ! 
Tho'  you  struggled  to  be  cheerful,  well  I  knew  your  heart  was 

chill'd, 
Like  a  gentle,  little  blossom  by  a  poison-vapour  kill'd  ! 
I  made  you  a  sweet  drink,  love,  your  burning  lips  to  wet, 
But  you  went  away  without  it,  and  'tis  here  untasted  yet ; 
For  the  Angels  had  prepared  for  you  a  drink  of  joy,  divine, 
And  since  your  soul  has  tasted  it,  you  do  not  care  for  mine  ! 

Oh  !  our  little  home  was  happy  as  the  linnet's  peaceful  nest, 
'Till  our  harvest-crops  were  blighted,  and  the  Agent  took  the 

rest; 
And  he  turn'd  us  out  to  perish,  in  the  winter  of  the  year, 
But  a  neighbour  gave  us  shelter  in  this  wretched  cabin  here  ! 
The  Parish  Priest  advised  us  for  the  poorhouse  to  depart, 
Where  my  Eily  and  my  children  would  be  torn  from  my  heart ; 
Let  him  tell  the  guilty  Agent's  haughty  lady  to  go  there, 
Sure  my  Eily  was  as  tender  and  as  virtuous  and  fair  ! 

I  went  among  the  farmers,  who  still  held  struggling  on, 

Like  pale  leaves  clinging  to  the  boughs  when  all  the  rest  are 

gone  ; 
But  I  couldn't  find  employment — nor  the  wages  of  a  day — 
To  keep  famine  from  my  darling  and  our  little  ones  away  ! 
The  wily  Saxon  preacher  came  to  tempt  us  in  our  need, 
And  he  offer'd  bread  and  money  if  we'd  learn  his  foreign  creed ; 
But  Eily  said — tho'  famine's  wolf  was  eating  at  her  frame, 
"  God  suffer 'd  more,— we'll  die  before  we  traffic  on  His  Name !" 

My  fair-hair'd  angel-daughter  and  her  cherub-brother  died, 
And  they  lay,  like  two  crush'd  lilies,  in  their  death-sleep  side 

by  side  ! 
How  my  Eily  emptied  o'er  them  the  blue  fountain  of  her  eyes, 
Like  the  showery  cloud  of  morning  softly  melting  in  the  skies! 
I  laid  their  slender  bodies  in  the  consecrated  sod, 
But  their  souls,  like  two  white  cygnets,  flew  together  up  to 

God  : 


102  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  He  sent  them  back,  all  shining  from  the  grandeur  of  His 

Throne, 
To  bring  their  mother  with  them,  and  she's  gone — and  I'm 

alone  ! 

Eily  !  Eily  !  oh,  look  on  me  from  the  palace  of  the  sky  ! 
You  said  you  loved  me  fondly,  and  you  never  told  a  lie  ; 
And  you  often  said,  you  would  not  rest  contented  anywhere, 
Even  in  the  bowers  of  Heaven,  were  I  not  with  you  there  ! 
And  can  you  now  sit  happy  in  the  presence  of  the  Lord, 
And  forget  me  here  ?  oh,  no  !  oh,  no  ! — you  never  broke  your 

word  ! 
I  feel  the  golden  tie  of  love  that  link'd  us,  heart  to  heart, 
Has  fasten'd  on  our  spirits,  and  will  never  let  them  part  ! 

My  soul  drank  rays  of  beauty  from  the  summer  of  your  eyes, 
As  the  river  takes  from  heaven  its  resplendent  aerial  dyes  ; — 
But  their  fount  of  beams  are  darken'd  in  the  heaven  of  your 

face, 
Like  two  quenched  stars  that  light  no  more  the  silent  halls  of 

space ! 
Yet  I  know  that  you  are  waiting,  in  a  rainbow- cloud  above, 
With  the  sunburst  of  God's  brightness  on  your  holy  brow  of 

love — 
Waiting — watching  for  my  coming — I'll  be  with  you  soon, 

aztore  ! 
Where  the  Famine  or  the  Agent  shall  not  touch  us  evermore  ! 

THE  WINDING  SUIR. 

Among  those  hills,  and  in  those  fields, 

I  wandered  with  my  lover  last ; 
The  morning  flowers,  all  wet  with  showers, 

Were  bending  in  the  early  blast. — 
'Twas  on  those  banks,  'mid  snowy  ranks 

Of  daises  steep'd  in  dew-gems  pure  ; 
With  many  a  tear,  and  sigh  sincere, 

We  parted  by  the  winding  Suir ! 

The  linnet  sung  the  thorns  among, 

The  haw-tree  flower'd  in  yon  green  dell ; 
Along  the  woods  the  gold-fring'd  clouds 

Hung  o'er  the  river  s  amber  swell : 
The  east  wind  chased  the  white-wing'd  mist 

Slow  o'er  the  primrose-spangled  moor, 
And  all  look'd  gay  that  tearful  day 

"We  parted  by  the  winding  Suir ! 

One  burning  kiss — one  sweet  embrace — 

Seal'd  our  last  farewell  on  the  shore ! 
I  sat  beside  the  careless  tide, 

And  wept  until  my  heart  grew  sore ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND  103 

In  Ireland's  cause,  the  Saxon  laws 

Have  banish' d  him  and  left  me  poor  ; 
Oh  !  had  he  died  in  manhood's  pride 

For  Ireland,  by  the  winding  Suir  ! 

Three  times  that  day  has  pass'd  away 

Upon  the  year-bound  wheels  of  Time  ; 
And  summer's  sun  three  times  shone  on 

Yon  flower-clad  banks  in  vernal  prime  ; 
With  grief- worn  face,  I  mark  the  place 

We  parted  from  my  cottage  door  ; 
Ah  !  does  he  now  forget  the  vow 

He  gave  me  by  the  winding  Suir  ? 

When  midnight  swings  its  starry  wings 

Along  the  cold  blue  face  of  heaven, 
While  others  sleep,  I  sigh  and  weep, 

For  all  my  heart  to  him  is  given ! 
In  fancy's  dream  again  I  seem 

To  roam  the  hill  and  lonely  moor, 
Where  last  he  press'd  and  fondly  kiss'd 

His  Mary  by  the  winding  Suir ! 


THE  ANATHEMA  OF  OBHINN,  THE  BANSHEE. 

Donogh  O'Brien,  commonly  called  the  great  Earl  of  Thomond,  brought 
reinforcements,  in  conjunction  with  the  Anglo-Irish  and  Catholic  Earl  of 
Clanrickarde,  to  aid  Lord  Mountjoy  against  O'Neill  and  O'Donnell,  at  the 
battle  of  Kinsale,  and  materially  assisted  the  English  to  overthrow  the  in- 
dependence of  their  country. 

Clanrickarde  slew  twenty  of  the  Irish  with  his  own  hand,  and  cried  aloud 
to  spare  no  "  rebels."  Carew  says,  "  that  no  man  did  bloody  his  sword 
more  than  his  lordship  that  day." 

On  the  return  of  O'Brien  to  his  earldom,  after  the  defeat  of  the  Northern 
Chieftains,  he  is  supposed  to  have  been  met  by  Obhinn,  the  ancient  family 
spirit,  or  Banshee  of  his  ancestors,  and  she  fiercely  cursed  and  denounced 
him  for  his  apostasy  to  Ireland  ;  and  prophesied  the  fall  of  his  new  title, 
and  the  extinction  of  his  line. 

From  the  clouds  of  the  hill,  and  the  gloom  of  the  night, 
Who  is  she  that  appears  like  the  wintry-moon,  white  ? 
The  cold  dew  is  gleaming,  like  beads,  on  her  hair, 
And  she  wrings  her  gaunt  hands,  with  a  shriek  of  despair  ! 
Look,  Earl  !  the  Spectre  stands  full  in  thy  path, 
And  her  angry  face  beareth  a  mission  of  wrath  ; 
There's  a  mist  round  her  form  that's  awful  to  see, 
And  her  eyes,  like  blue  wild-fire,  are  turned  upon  thee ! 

The  Earl  rein'd  in  his  black  war-horse,  and  gazed, 
With  his  sword  turned  down,  and  his  visor  upraised  ; 
And  he  saw  standing  out  on  a  cliff,  in  his  way, 
The  dismal,  White  Woman  of  lonely  Craiglea. 
One  hand  she  outstretch'd,  like  a  skeleton  bough, 
And  one  was  close-press'd  to  her  cold,  stony  brow  ; 
While  her  lips  breathed  curses  that  awfully  fell, 
On  his  spirit  and  brain,  like  the  sentence  of  hell. 


104  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

* '  The  Mighty  of  Erin  is  laid  on  the  earth, 

And  her  war-lions,  bleeding,  have  fled  to  the  North  : 

For  thou,  curst  apostate  !  hast  redden'd  thy  steel 

With  the  glorious  heart's  blood  of  the  clans  of  O'Neill ! 

May  the  rank  steam  of  death  from  that  red  slaughter  field 

Where  you  taught  the  proud  Chieftains  of  Ulster  to  yield, 

Be  shaped  to  a  scourge  by  the  finger  Divine, 

To  wound,  waste  and  wither  the  slaves  of  thy  line  ! 

"  0  Chiefs  of  Kincora  !  immortal  in  song  ! 
Whose  arms  flash'd  death  'mid  the  fierce  battle  tjirong, 
With  scorn,  look  down  from  your  high  dwelling-place, 
On  the  slave-making  recreant  who  sprang  from  your  race  ! 
In  their  grandeur  and  might,  did  those  chiefs  ever  dream 
That  their  offspring  would  cover  their  glory  with  shame  ? 
Did  they  from  their  shores  the  grim  sea-robbers  chase, 
For  their  sons  to  be  servants  to  robbers  more  base  ? 


"Oh,  red-handed  serf  of  the  fierce  Calladi  Rue  !* 

In  the  house  of  her  pride,  like  an  upas,  you  grew, 

Where  she  poisoned  your  spirit,  your  blood  and  your  breath, 

To  bring  to  your  country  destruction  and  death  ! 

Fly  to  the  Red  Hag  of  the  Sassenach  land, 

With  Erin's  heart's-blood  smelling  fresh  on  thy  hand  ; 

And  tell  her  she's  queen,  'mid  the  damned  and  the  dead, 

Of  your  island,  with  ashes  and  carcasses  spread  !  f 

"May  the  blood  whkh  your  traitor-sword  drank  at  Kinsale, 
When  you  scattered\lie  spearsmen  of  princely  O'Neill, 
In  a  deadly  cloud  rise  and  hang  over  your  halls  ! 
And  rain  down  a  curse  that  shall  crumble  their  walls  ! 
Ghosts  shriek  your  base  deeds  through  the  red  battle-plain, 
And  Heaven  cries,   "  Where  is  thy  brother  ?  0  Cain  !" 
Black  Donogh,  the  murderer  !  hold  up  your  hand  ! 
Come  forward,  and  answer  God's  awful  demand  ! 

"  Let  Clanrickarde,  the  homicide,  shout  o'er  the  dead, 
For  his  black  soul  is  drunk  with  the  blood-rain  he  shed  ; 
Let  him  kneel  at  the  altar,  unwashed  and  unshod, 
A  monster  of  crime  in  the  temple  of  God  ! 
'Twere  a  lie  if  his  fierce  Norman  spirit  could  feel 
Reluctance  to  slaughter  or  plunder  the  Gael ; 
'Tis  his  trade  and  his  nature  such  evil  to  do, 
But  he's  not  a  base,  renegade  hirling,  like  you ! 


•  fallnch  Rue,  i.e.,  Red  Hag,  was  a  popular  epithet  applied  by  the  Irish 
to  Queen  Elizabeth. 

t  Lord  Mountj  oy  boasted  that  he  made  the  Queen  a  present  of  Ireland, 
all  carcasses  and  ashes. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF   TIIOMOXT).  105 

"  Ah,  where  is  O'Donnell  ?  that  valour-soul'd  man  ! 
The  high  guardian-god  of  his  country  and  clan  ! 
Oh,  'tis  well  for  your  coronet,  your  house,  and  your  head, 
That  the  strong,  fiery  hand  of  his  vengeance  is  dead  !  * 
Do  you  know  the  dread  warrior  who  twice  flung  his  bands 
Into  Thomond's  green  bosom,  and  stripp'd  your  broad  lands  ? 
Oh,  my  soul  !  had  he  lived  !  your  late  victory's  cry 
Would  turn  into  death-groans  for  you,  and  Mount  joy  ! 

"  The  glorious  one  died  of  his  mighty  heart's  grief, 
And  Erin's  last  hope  has  expired  with  the  Chief  ! 
But,  oh,  Dar  a  Chriesta  !  he  oftentimes  gave, 
A  legion  of  Saxons,  cleft  heads  and  a  grave  ! 
O'Neill,  to  the  gloom  of  his  mountains  retires, 
He  sold  not  his  honour,  he  shamed  not  his  sires  : 
But  the  bones  of  your  forefathers  groan  in  their  graves, 
For  your  treason  to  Erin  !  you  maker  of  slaves  ! 

* '  Perdition  will  grasp  the  low  heirs  of  thy  line, 

And  the  death-curse  of  freedom  brand  all  that  is  thine  ! 

Till  its  vengeance  shall  leave  not  a  stone  of  thy  walls, 

Nor  a  fire  on  thy  hearth,  nor  a  slave  in  thy  halls  ! 

Eternal  contempt  on  the  day  you  went  forth, 

With  the  Saxon,  to  crush  the  Red  Hand  of  the  North ! 

Hark  !  the  cry  of  your  country  rings  up  from  her  tomb  ; 

'  Assassin  of  Erin  !  Lord  Thomond,  go  home  !' 

"  Go  home,  you  apostate  !  and  drink  your  red  wine ! 
May  the  odour  of  corpses.be  round  where  you  dine  ! 
And  the  tears  of  gaunt  widows  mi*  black  in  your  bowl, 
And  the  cry  of  starved  orphans  strike  hard  at  your  soul ! 
Go  home — may  the  charnal  pits,  gory  and  deep — 
Where  your  countrymen  fester — bring  balm  to  your  sleep  ! 
May  your  soul  feast  on  visions  of  famine  and  flames, 
And  the  death-shriek  of  Erin  be  heard  in  your  dreams  !" 


ROSROEf— A  POEM  PICTURE— 
(Autumn,  1874.) 

The  autumn  is  dark  on  the  hills  of  Rosroe, 
And  its  plains  are  fast  losing  their  rich  summer-glow ; 
While  I  stand  gazing  up  from  the  Lake's  reedy  shore, 
On  the  towers,  where  the  brave  shall  assemble  no  more. 

•  The  renowned  Red  Hugh  O'Donnell  embarked  for  Spain,  immediately- 
after  the  battle  of  Kinsale,  to  solicit  King  Philip  for  new  reinforcements  to 
continue  the  war  against  the  English  in  Ireland.  But,  ere  any  material 
help  could  be  organised,  he  died  of  a  broken  heart,  on  account  of  the 
miseries  of  his  native  land.  He  bore  deadly  wrath  against  the  O'Briens, 
for  their  adhesion  to  the  invaders.  Actuated  by  this  feeling  he  twice  over- 
ran Thomond  and  plundered  it,  not  leaving  a  head  of  cattle  from  Coroum- 
roe  to  Loophead. 

+  A  beautiful  locality,  three  miles  north  of  Bunratty,  watered  by  a  mag- 
nificent lake,  upon  whose  shore  stand  the  remains  of  a  strong  castle  built  by 


106  LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OE  THOMOND. 

There  are  wild  legends  told  of  those  old,  ruined  halls, 
With  the  gray  veil  of  ages  surrounding  their  walls, 
Whose  ponderous  rocks,  sword  and  cannon  defied, 
When  the  strength  of  the  mighty  in  combat  was  tried. 

Proud  race  of  the  Brave  !  not  a  record  remains 
Of  the  strong-handed  sway  which  you  held  on  those  plains 
Save  yon  war-broken  ramparts,  all  mossy  with  time, 
That  frown  in  wreck'd  grandeur,  cold,  dark,  and  sublime ! 

Your  high  crest  of  honour  has  sunk  to  the  dust  ! 

The  steel  of  your  glory  has  perished  in  rust ! 

The  mist  of  oblivion  is  over  your  graves, 

And  your  princedom  is  mark'd  with  the  footsteps  of  slaves  ! 

The  tall  fern  trembles  on  brown  Craig-an-oir,* 
Once  steeped  in  the  wave  of  the  war-giants'  gore  ; 
When  the  lightning  of  God  from  a  fire-cloud  blazed  down, 
And  blasted  the  sight  of  the  tyrant-chief  Conn ! 

Through  the  dark  cloud  of  ages  I  fling  my  soul  back 
To  paint  the  fierce  scene  of  that  dread  battle- wreck  ; 
The  sun's  in  the  zenith — the  clans  and  their  lords 
Are  cleaving  each  other,  with  axes  and  swords  ! 

Like  the  sounding  of  surges,  the  battle-shouts  swell, 
And  the  war- weapons  clash,  like  a  mighty  death -knell ; 
Here  and  there,  thro'  the  mist,  on  the  Craig's  redden'd  height, 
Now  breaks,  and  now  blends  the  deep  mass  of  the  fight. 

When  the  wind  blows  the  tiist-veil  aside  from  the  fray, 
One  broad  flame  of  steel  flashes  out  on  the  day  ;  ^ 
And  round  the  wild  plain  might  be  widely  descried, 
Where  the  onslaught  had  left  the  red  mark  of  its  tide. 

Near  yon  gory  broom-tuft  a  chief  seems  to  rest, 
With  the  fangs  of  a  dart  fastened  deep  in  his  breast ; 
He  calls  to  his  clan  as  it  slowly  retires, 
And  he  struggles  to  rise,  but  falls  back  and  expires. 

Faster  and  deeper,  each  moment  succeeds, 
The  hoarse  cry  of  men  and  the  neigh  of  gored  steeds  ; 
O'er  the  cliff,  with  mad  yellings  of  vengeance  and  woe, 
The  wounded  are  dash'd  in  the  red  surge  below. 

Fineen  Dhu  MacNamara,  a.d.  1291.  It  was  the  second  fortress  raised  in 
Thomond,  after  the  Norman  castle  of  Bunratty,  and  many  a  stern  siege  have 
its  stubborn  walls  withstood.  The  lake  was  once  full  of  red  trout,  but  that 
fine  species  of  fish  has  entirely  disappeared  from  its  waters. 

*  Craig-an-oir,  i.e.,  Golden  Crag,  is  an  extensive  flat-headed  cliff  at  the 
eastern  wing  of  the  lake.  On  the  plain  of  this  crag  was  fought  a  fierce 
battle  between  the  two  sons  of  Fineen  Dhu,  Conn  and  Brian  MacNamara. 
Conn  was  struck  blind  by  lightning,  at  the  moment  of  victory.  Tradition 
states  that  the  cause  of  the  quarrel,  between  the  brothers  was  Mora,  the  beau- 
tiful daughter  of  a  neighbouring  chief,  Donagh  MacNamara  of  Ard  Cuilen 
Castle.    She  was  betrothed  to  Brian,  but  Conn  forcibly  abducted  her. 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  ]07 

Some  struggle,  in  vain,  with  the  grasp  of  the  flood, 
While  the  monstrous  lake-eels  are  drinking  their  blood  ; 
They  scourge  the  wild  waves  in  red  foam  to  the  shore, 
And  sink  down  to  their  cold  depths,  to  struggle  no  more. 

As  the  wrathful  Conn  marshall'd  his  troops  into  line, 
To  charge  on  the  clans  of  his  brave  brother  Brian, 
A  black  thunder-cloud  gather'd  quick  in  the  sky, 
And  glared  on  the  hosts,  like  a  demon's  dark  eye. 

From  the  lake's  gloomy  bosom  the  cry  of  the  gale 
Swept  round  the  gray  towers,  like  a  funeral  wail ! 
And  the  clans,  thro'  the  darkness,  at  distance,  were  seen, 
Like  two  fire-blacken'd  groves,  with  a  red  space  between. 

A  blue  wave  of  lightning  shot  over  the  field, 
And  danced,  in  broad  circles,  on  helmet  and  shield  ; 
O'er  the  wings  of  the  battle  its  flame-banner  spread, 
And  the  mighty  Conn  fell,  with  his  eyesight  struck  dead ! 

Like  the  laugh  of  a  giant,  the  thunder  boom'd  out, 
As  the  clans  on  each  other  dash'd  mad,  with  a  shout ; 
But  Brian's  clan  vanish'd,  like  smoke  in  the  wind, 
While  Conn  to  the  Castle  was  borne,  stone-blind ! 

*  *  *•  *  *  ■*  * 

No  more  shall  your  proud  banners  flash  in  the  van 
Of  your  iron  tribes,  combating,  clan  against  clan ; 
'Twas  your  merciless  discords  and  ambitious  sway 
Gave  strength  to  the  Saxon  to  sweepfye  away  ! 

I  hear  in  the  murmuring  reeds  by  the  wave, 
The  sigh  of  the  harps  that  once  sung  to  the  brave ;     * 
For  the  ghosts  of  weird  bards  who  were  here  long  ^go, 
Still  sing  in  the  dark  mist  of  lonely  Rosroe ! 

In  the  bosom  of  night  when  the  white  moonbeams  shine, 
Like  snow,  on  the  cairn  of  haunted  Knoc  Brien  ;* 
Wild  laughter,  commingling  with  music's  weird  thrill, 
Is  heard  on  the  crest  of  that  dark,  fairy  hill ! 

The  spectre-mists  swim  round  its  gloom-circled  height, 
Like  the  spirits  that  walk  the  brown  shadows  of  night ; 
There  the  grave  of  the  murder'd  chief,  Brian,  is  shown, 
With  the  wild  mountain  fern,  and  broom-bush  o'ergrown, 

*  After  the  fight  of  Craig-an-oir,  the  defeated  Brian  fled  to  France  where 
he  remained  for  nine  years.  He  grew  home-sick,  and  returned  to  Rosroe, 
where  he  employed  mediators  to  become  reconciled  to  his  brother  Conn, 
who  seemingly  felt  rejoiced  to  meet  Brian,  and  was  at  once  conducted  to  a 
hill  where  Brian  was  waiting,  but  while  pretending  to  embrace  his  brother, 
the  treacherous  Conn  drove  his  short  sword  through  Brian's  body.  He  was 
buried  where  he  fell,  and  a  cairn  was  raised  over  his  remains,  which  indi- 
cates his  grave  to  this  day.  The  country  people  gave  the  hill  the  significant 
name  of  Knoc  Brian.    It  is  one  mile  south  of  the  Castle. 


108  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  TITOMOND. 

The  eve-sun  is  steeping  in  crimson  the  west, 
And  the  lake  folds  the  sky's  golden  wreaths  to  its  breast ; 
While  the  scream  of  the  gaunt  crane  from  lone  Lan-na-gour,* 
Awakes  the  sad  echoes  of  wild  Craig-an-oir. 

The  last  dim  rays  faint  on  the  wood's  yellow  stain, 
And  the  dew-mist  is  weaving  white  rings  on  the  plain ; 
And  the  tower  'mid  the  gath'ring  gloom  seems  to  weep, 
As  it  looks  at  its  desolate  shade  in  the  deep  ! 

Each  proud  hill  that  seems  a  romance  of  the  sky, 
Has  lost  from  its  forehead  each  sun-purpled  dye  ; 
Deep  shadows  have  veil'd  the  lake's  crystal  below, — 
Farewell  to  thy  dark  beauty,  lonely  Rosroe ! 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  MOROGH,  SON  OF  BRIAN. 

(a  bardic  vision.) 

A  spirit  came  to  my  midnight  dream, 

And  a  terrific  glory  was  o'er  him  ; 
And  my  blood  was  chill'd,  and  my  soul  was  fill'd 

With  wonder  and  awe,  before  him. 
Upon  his  head  was  the  gloom  of  the  Dead, 

And  a  meteor-diadem  crown'd  it, 
As  he  stood  dark  and  still,  like  a  wintry  hill, 

With  the  storm-clouds  slumbering  round  it. 

The  solemn  light  of  a  freezing  night, 

From  his  ghostly  eyes  seem'd  streaming, 
As  they  wink'd  in  the  space  of  his  waxen  face, 

Like  stars  thro'  a  rain-mist  gleaming  ; 
And  his  milk-white  brow  was  like  desert  snow, 

When  the  moon,  thro'  the  shades  that  enwreath  her, 
Is  seen  to  sail,  on  her  silver  keel, 

Thro'  the  dim,  blue  realm  of  ether. 

Methought  I  stood  by  a  deep,  dark  flood, 

When  this  living  shadow  found  me  ; 
And  the  Last  Day's  doom  seem'd  hid  in  the  gloom 

That  pall'd  all  Nature  around  me. 
"Oh,  Spirit!"  I  cried,  "whence  art  thou  come? — 

What  mission  to  me  has  convey'd  thee  ? — 
Answer,  thou  awful  thing  of  the  tomb  ! 

In  the  name  of  the  God  that  made  thee ! — 

*  Lan-na-gour,  or  Goat's  Island,  is  a  beautiful  woody  solitude  on  the 
north-eastern  side  of  the  lake.  On  my  last  visit  to  Rosroe  I  was  sorry  to 
see  the  marks  of  modern  Vandalism  on  the  venerable  walls  of  the  Castle. 
The  finely  cut  stonework  of  the  windows  and  doorways  was  torn  away  to 
suit  the  ignoble  purpose  of  some  neighbouring  Goth. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  109 

"  What  of  Eternity  ?— Angel  or  Fiend ! 

Or  where  is  the  place  of  thy  dwelling  ? 
'Mid  the  realms  of  night,  or  the  thrones  of  light 

Where  the  songs  of  the  happy  are  swelling  ? 
Say,  hadst  thou  birth  on  this  doleful  earth, 

The  weakness  of  flesh  to  inherit  ? 
Wert  thou  shaped  out  from  the  breath  of  God's  mouth 

A  mighty  and  bodiless  spirit  ?  " 

The  Phantom  bow'd,  like  a  sunset-cloud 

From  the  Galtees'  peak  descending, 
To  the  dreary  glen,  or  the  sombre  fen, 

Its  dusky  bosom  bending  : 
And,  by  degrees,  with  a  graceful  ease, 

The  manliest  aspect  form'd 
That  e'er  the  design  of  the  mind  Divine, 

With  His  image  impress'd  and  warm'd. 

The  dismal  shade  of  the  gloomy  dead 

Roll'd  off  from  his  forehead  of  whiteness, 
As  mists,  one  by  one,  melt  away  from  the  sun, 

In  the  dazzling  walk  of  its  brightness  ; 
And  his  high  soul  shone,  on  a  burning  throne, 

In  his  eyes'  large  orbs  resplendent ; 
And  he  look'd  in  the  prime  of  manhood  sublime, 

Of  a  hundred  kings  the  descendant. 

His  cheek  wore  the  dye  of  a  roseate  sky, 

When  the  sun  to  his  rest  is  retiring, 
With  the  smile  of  his  love,  in  red  glory  above, 

On  the  bosom  of  heaven  expiring. 
And  his  lips'  bright  glow  was  like  berries  that  blow 

In  the  midsummer  glen's  shadow  hazy  ; 
Or  the  crimson  tinge  on  the  snow-rimm'd  fringe  . 

Of  April's  woodland  daisy. 

His  pine-like  height,  and  arms  of  might, 

Delighted  and  awed  the  beholder ; 
And  his  rich  locks  fell,  in  a  golden  swell, 

On  the  marble  throne  of  his  shoulder. 
I  spoke  again,  "  Oh  !  prince  of  men ! 

Art  thou  Nial,  or  Cormac  the  splendid  ? 
Or  Eogain  More,  the  renown'd  of  yore, 

From  Heber  the  royal  descended  ?  " 

Then  he  silence  broke,  anck  proudly  spoke, 

With  flowery  and  full  repleteness  ; 
And  each  accent  rung,  from  his  Gaelic  tongue, 

Like  the  harp-wire's  melting  sweetness. 
"  Oh  !  child  of  song  !  I  am  Morogh  the  Strong, 

Son  of  Brian,  the  Chief  of  the  Leaders, 
Who  built  the  high  fame  of  his  glory-crown'd  name 

On  the  ruin  of  Erin's  Invaders !  " 


HO  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

My  bosom  glow'd,  and  my  eyes  o'erflow'd, 

With  the  joy  of  my  wrapt  soul  burning, 
Like  the  silent  shower  of  the  gray  dawn  hour,     ' 

Weeping  welcome  to  day's  returning  ; 
And  I  grasp' d  his  hand — "  Oh  !  Star  of  our  Land  ! 

Illustrious  Prince  of  the  peerless 
Sons  of  Clan  Tail,  the  flower  of  the  Gael ! 

The  noble,  the  free,  and  the  fearless  ! 

"Is  my  hand  in  the  clasp  of  that  dreadful  grasp 

Which  strangled  the  monsters  of  slavery  ? 
And  made  iron  hosts  reel  from  the  sweep  of  thy  steel, 

In  the  red  war-path  of  thy  bravery  ? 
Thou  mighty  lord  of  the  axe  and  sword ! 

Why  sleepeth  thy  chivalrous  daring, 
When  thy  strong  right  hand  and  conquering  brand 

Are  so  bitterly  needed  in  Erin?" 

He  sigh'd  and  wept,  and  the  dim  tear  crept 

Thro'  the  fringe  of  his  sable  lashes, 
As  the  wintry  rill,  'mid  the  shades  of  the  hill, 

In  the  mournful  moonbeam  flashes  ; 
And  his  glist'ning  eyes  seem'd  like  warm  May  skies, 

Glowing  out  through  a  passing  shower 
On  the  sunny  mist  that,  with  silver  lips,  kiss'd 

The  green  tuft  that  cradles  the  flower. 

But  he  flung  off  the  tear,  with  indignant  air, 

And  his  face  into  grandeur  brighten' d ; 
And  the  warlike  blaze  of  his  eagle-gaze, 

Like  a  stormy  meteor,  lighten'd  ; 
He  drew  his  blade  from  its  gloomy  sheath, 

And  its  light,  like  a  fire-zone,  bound  him  ; 
While  he  shook  its  gleam,  with  a  wing  of  flame, 

'  Thro  the  melting  darkness  around  him. 

Then  he  backward  roll'd  the  shadowy  fold, 

Of  the  war-cloak  that  cover' d  his  form  ; 
And  I  saw,  gaping  wide,  in  his  princely  side, 

A  wound  that  bled  deeply  and  warm. 
"  Our  blood  was  shed  for  your  land  !  "  he  said, 

And  our  spirits  shall  not  forsake  her, 
'Till  her  Angel  proud,  in  a  blood-red  cloud, 

With  a  trumpet-blast  shall  awake  her !" 

The  vision  changed,  and  methought  I  ranged 

Where  trees,  in  their  summer  charms, 
Sung  a  sweet  May-hymn,  by  a  lake's  blue  rim, 

Entwined  in  each  other's  arms  ; 
And  the  hills  around  look'd  as  cloud-kings  crown'd 

And  the  sun  sent  his  beams  to  love  them, 
With  flowery  vests  on  their  emerald  breasts, 

And  the  bright  sky  laughing  above  them. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  Ill 

And,  again  at  my  side,  by  that  lake's  calm  tide, 

Stood  the  Phantom  of  grandeur  olden, 
And  the  living  rays  of  former  days, 

Shone  "round  in  a  halo  golden  : 
But  the  fiery  light  of  his  flashing  sight 

Was  quench'd  in  a  mist  of  sorrow, 
As  he  said,  with  an  air  of  sullen  despair, 

"Behold  the  House  of  Kinkora! " 

I  turn'd  where  the  surge  besilver'd  the  verge 

Of  the  shore,  with  its  myriad  flowers, 
And  regal  and  high,  'gainst  the  arching  sky, 

Hose  the  heads  of  a  hundred  towers  ; 
Whilst  to  and  fro,  in  the  halls  below, 

Kings,  Ollamhs  and  Bards  were  dining. 
With  queenly  girls  whose  gem-starr'd  curls 

And  robes  were  as  sunbeams  shining. 

And  the  breathing  wires  of  a  thousand  lyres 

In  a  warrior  anthem  blended, 
Sweet,  as  if  May  touch'd  each  sunny  ray 

Into  song,  in  her  flower-palace  splendid  ; 
And  a  soul-laughing  joy  flash'd  in  every  eye, 

And  each  brow  with  a  glory  was  lighted, 
As  if  God  made  peace  with  Man's  erring  race, 

And  Heaven  and  Earth  were  united. 

Again  I  look'd  round,  but  the  dark  towers  frown'd, 

In  desolate  grandeur,  lonely  ; 
And  nothing  was  there  but  a  ruin  bare, 

That  shelter  d  the  night  bird  only  ; 
The  naked  walls  of  the  empty  halls 

Were  in  mournful  silence  weeping, 
And  where  monarchs  sate  in  the  room  of  state 

The  spirit  of  gloom  was  sleeping. 

The  wandering  bee,  with  his  minstrelsy, 

The  red  wall-flower  was  wooing, 
And  the  dark-green  moss  spread  its  veil  across 

The  face  of  the  hoary  ruin  ; 
Rank  weeds  grew  tall  on  the  gray-headed  wall, 

With  summer  flies  round  them  flitting  ; 
And  the  sad  owl  moan'd  in  the  banquet-hall 

Where  kings  were  so  lately  sitting. 

I  turn'd,  with  a  sigh,  to  the  Chief  that  stood  by, 

And  said,  * '  Mighty  Prince  of  Temora ! 
What  makes  this  change,  so  sudden  and  strange, 

In  Brian's  grand  house  of  Kinkora  ? 
I'd  weep  all  day  o'er  the  sad  decay 

Of  that  royal  pile,  so  hoary, 
That,  for  ages  long,  nursed  valour  and  song, 

And  cradled  a  Nation's  glory  ! " 


112  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Said  the  spectral  Chief,  in  a  tone  of  grief — 

"  That  dwelling  of  desolation, 
Is  a  doleful  trait  of  the  ruinous  fate 

Which  attends  our  divided  Nation  ! 
Like  birds  of  prey,  in  yon  palace  gray, 

The  strangers  alone  shall  enjoy  her, 
While  her  sons  the  worst  of  her  foes,  accurst, 

Lift  their  traitorous  hands  to  destroy  her ! 

"The  last  fate  of  seven,  for  Erin — in  heaven, ' 

With  blood  has  been  written,  'Forsaken!' 
And  the  gloomy  record,  in  the  hand  of  the  Lord, 

O'er  the  heads  of  the  Nations  was  shaken  ! 
And  a  Giant  shall  come,  with  a  sword  of  doom, 

From  the  waves  of  the  West  to  save  her  ; 
Nor  Earth,  at  that  hour,  nor  Hell  shall  have  power 

To  save  from  his  wrath  the  Enslaver!  " 

He  ceased,  and  anon,  the  man  was  gone 

Again  to  his  spiritual  form, 
And  the  meteor  red,  appear' d  on  his  head, 

Like  a  star  o'er  the  cloud  of  a  storm  ; 
And  a  churchyard  gloom  was  seen  to  loom, 

In  his  midnight  features,  o'er  me, 
As  he  rose  on  high,  in  the  face  of  the  sky, 

A  dark  mist-column  before  me. 

I  look'd — and  once  more  hill,  stream,  and  shore, 

With  a  midnight  pall  were  cover' d, 
And  an  ink-black  cloud,  like  a  wizard's  shroud, 

O'er  the  frowning  heavens  hover' d  ; 
And  the  darken'd  face  of  ethereal  space 

Ope'd  its  starry  eyes,  and  mourn'd, 
As  that  spectral  thing,  on  the  night's  dim  wing, 

To  its  limitless  region  return'd. 


LOVELY  MARYANNE. 

Oh!  bear  me  back  to  Shannon's  banks,  and  Limerick's  battle- 
towers, 
Where  first  I  wooed  my  Maryanne,  among  the  sunny  flowers ; 
Where  Beauty  braved  Oppression's  steel,   and  Freedom  led 

her  on, 
'Twas  there  I  told  my  first  love-tale,  and  won  my  Maryanne. 
Oh,  lovely  Maryanne!  my  gentle,  little  swan! 
Where'er  I  be, 
I'll  dream  of  thee, 
'Till  life's  last  pulse  is  gone! 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF   THOMOND  113 

There  are  some  glowing  eyes  that  leave  their  living  rays 

behind 
On  memory's  beaming  mirror  in  the  palace  of  the  mind; 
Go  where  I  will,  those  rays  of  love  can  never  cease  to  shine — 
Oh,   Maryanne!  the  spirit  of  their  magic  light  is  thine! 

Lovely  Maryanne!  my  gentle,  little  swan!  &c.  &c. 

And  we  have  stray 'd  on  Shannon's  banks,  by  moonlight  white 

and  wide, 
Where  Sarsfield  broke  the  Saxon  ranks  by  Shannon's  lordly 

tide; 
And  we  have  sung  our  home-songs  there,  and  talk'd  of  glories 

gone, 
And  warm  with  love,  and  wild  with  joy,  I  kiss'd  my  Maryanne. 
Lovely  Maryanne!  my  gentle,  little  swan!  &c.  &c. 

And  we  have  play'd  on  Shannon's  banks  when  morning's  dewy 

hand 
Unveil'd  the  rosy  world  of  flowers  that  gemm'd  the  glistening 

strand — 
The  waves,  like  Freedom's  flashing  swords,  were  glancing  in 

the  sun, 
Bright  as  your  own  blue,  loving  eyes,  my  radiant  Maryanne ! 
Lovely  Maryanne!  my  gentle,  little  swan!  &c.  &c. 

By  yonder  dashing  waterfall  that  brightly  leaps  along, 
With  a  whirling  plume  of  silver  and  a  ringing  battle-song, 
There  often  have  we  stole  unseen,  and  sat,  and  talk'd  of  love, 
With  a  daisy-carpet  'neath  us,  and  a  crystal  roof  above. 

Lovely  Maryanne !  my  gentle,  little  swan!  &c,  &c, 

My  girl,  I'll  soon  go  back  to  you,  and  Limerick's  battle-towers, 
And  Shannon's  banks,  for  ever  green  and  rich  with  golden 

flowers ! 
I'd  give  the  brightest  pleasure  that  e'er  charm'd  the  heart  of 

man, 
For  one  sweet  walk  on  those  wild  banks,  with  you,    my 
Maryanne ! 

Lovely  Maryanne!  my  gentle,  little  swan! 
Where'er  I  be, 
I'll  dream  of  thee, 
'Till  life's  last  pulse  is  gone! 


CATHOL  MAC  CARAGH, 

Blest  be  your  heart  of  love !  Cathol  Mac  Caragh! 
1  Bright  be  the  sky  above  Cathol  Mac  Caragh! 
In  golden  Dalcas,  from  Loch  Doon  to  Loch  Deargh, 
There  breathes  not  a  spirit,  like  Cathol  Mac  Caragh! 


114  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Behold!  where  o'er  Thomond  the  sunny  mists  fly, 
And  round  the  blue  heads  of  her  kingly  hills  lie! 
There  dwelt  your  forefathers,  as  regal  and  proud 
As  the  wild  eagles  nurst  by  the  storm  and  the  cloud. 
O'Hehir,  O'Loughlin,  O'Dea,  Mac-Con-Mara, 
O'Neill  and  O'Kennedy— flowers  of  Temora  ! 
O'Donnell,  O'Callaghan,  Mac  Clanchy  the  mighty, 
O'Considine  proud,  and  O'Hogain  the  flighty! 
Fierce  war-hawks  of  slaughter,  whose  red  axes  tore 
Thro'  the  dark  battle-ridge  on  the  plain  of  Moinmor;  * 
Where,  mangled  and  gash'd  with  the  death-wounds  of  honor, 
They  slew  the  strong  thousands  of  Torlogh  O'Connor. 

How  fierce  was  their  cheer,  with  the  Bara  Boo  blended, 
When,  like  whirlwinds  of  fire,  from  their  hills  they  descended ! 
With  their  long  battle-sparths  flashing  terror  before  them, 
And  the  bright  Sun-burst  blazing  in  majesty  o'er  them  :— 
Oh !  to  see  them,  when  marching,  like  oak-forests  shaken 
On  the  dark  wintry  mountains,  when  wild  gusts  awaken ; 
And  their  brown  eagle-plumes,  by  the  fitful  breeze  waven, 
Seemed  rising  to  brush  the  cloud-garments  of  heaven. 
Fierce,  valour-steel'd  clans  by  O'Brien  commanded — 
When  moving  to  combat,  like  storm-fiends  banded ; 
How  weak  were  the  ramparts  of  castle  or  barrack, 
When  assail'd  by  those  brave  sires  of  Cathol  Mac  Caragh? 

On  Dy serfs  red  field  where  grim  war's  crimson  rain, 
From  a  thousand  brave  bosoms,  empurpled  the  plain ; 
The  Dalcassian  sires  of  Mac  Caragh  were  there, 
Fierce-cleaving  the  squadrons  of  Richard  De  Clare  + 

*  The  celebrated  plain  of  Moinmor,  i.e.,  great  bog,  is  in  the  parish  of 
Emly.  The  names  of  the  principal  chiefs  slain  there,  are,  according  to  the 
Annalists,  viz.,  Three  of  the  O'Briens,  two  of  the  O'Kennedys,  eight  of  the 
O'Deas,  with  their  principal  chief,  nine  of  the  0' Shannons,  five  of  the 
O'Quins,  six  of  the  O'Gradys,  twenty-f our  of  the  O'Hogans,  four  of  the 
O'Hehirs,  two  of  the  O'Lynches,  four  of  the  O'Neills  Buidhe  or  yellow,  five 
of  the  O'Hearns,  nine  of  the  Mac  Inerneys,  six  of  the  O'Hallorans,  eleven 
of  the  O'Kcarneys,  seven  of  the  MacConmaras,  six  of  the  O'Meanys,  three 
of  the  O'Hartagans,  four  of  the  O'Malleys,  five  of  the  O'Liddys,  five  of  the 
O'Halys,  eight  of  the  O'Meehans;  five  of  the  O'Slatterys,  four  of  the 
O'Moloneys,  two  of  the  O'Lonergans,  four  of  the  MacMahons,  with  great 
numbers  of  good  and  brave  men  besides  them. 

All  those,  whose  names  are  mentioned,  were  prime  commanders  and 
captains  of  septs  of  the  Dalcassian  race  who  fell,  fighting  under  the  banner 
of  King  Torlogmore  O'Brien,  on  the  fatal  field  of  Moinmor. 
See  a  description  of  the  Battle,  at  page  68. 

+  Richard  De  Clare,  brother  of  Thomas,  the  founder  of  Bunratty  Castle, 
led  a  great  army  into  Thomond,  to  subdue  the  turbulent  Dalgais  and  take 
their  territories.  He  marched  as  far  as  Dysert  O'Dea,  in  Burren,  where 
lie  was  met  by  the  O'Briens,  the  O'Deas,  and  MacNamaras,  with  their 
tributary  clans,  and  a  furious  battle  was  fought,  in  which  De  Clare  and  his 
kinsmen  were  slain,  and  his  whole  army  defeated,  with  dreadful  slaughter. 
And  the  fugitive  Normans  were  chased  from  Burren  to  the  walls  of  Bun- 
ratty,  where  Lady  De  Clare,  hearing  of  the  death  of  her  lord  and  his  friencfiL 
set  the  Castle  on  fire  and  retreated  precipitately  to  England.  Since  that 
day,  a  De  Clare  never  set  foot  on  the  soil  of  Thomond.— Historical  Mewflt 
of  the  O'Briens. 


LAYS   AND    LEGENDS   OF   TIIOMOND.  115 

From  Burren's  white  crags  to  Bunratty's  strong  towers 
Fled,  broken  and  bleeding,  the  proud  Norman  powers ; 
But  no  flight  could  secure,  nor  no  castle  could  save  them 
From  the  doom  which  Clan  Tail's  mighty  war-axes  gave  them. 
Their  Bards  and  their  Brehons — their  lordly  possessions — 
Their  Seanachies  and  Banshees,  and  splendid  traditions  ; 
The  revel,  the  chase,  and  the  plentiful  hall 
Where  free  hospitality  smiled  upon  all, 
Are  gone — who  replaced  them?  A  swinish-soul'd  race, 
To  the  honour  of  manhood  a  curse  and  disgrace ; 
The  low-minded  miser,  the  knave  and  the  clod, — 
Counterfeiting  man's  state  and  the  image  of  God. 

Yes,  Cathol !  your  Irish  heart  swells  and  throbs  high, 
When  this  scene  of  past  grandeur  rolls  back  on  your  eye ; 
But  the  tears  and  the  shame  of  the  present  dark  day, 
Blot  the  image  of  glory  and  sweep  it  away ! 
See  the  baseness  that  crawls — the  corruption  that  festers 
In  the  old,  hallowed  soil  of  your  lordly  ancestors ; 
Weak  fawns  have  crept  into  the  den  of  the  lion, 
And  tinsel  serfs  dwell  in  the  kingdom  of  Brian! 

Woe  is  me !  who  inherits  the  rich  land  of  Canaan  ? 

Cromwell's  renegade  robbers,  the  Puritan  spawn ! 

And  degenerate  Celts — with  cold  bosoms  of  stone — 

Are  as  worthless,  as  cruel  and  base-hearted  grown ! 

The  bold  erect  spirit  of  honour  is  dead, 

And  knavery  prospers  and  sways  in  its  stead. — 

From  the  court  to  the  hut — from  the  church  to  the  state — 

Mammon's  vot'ries  and  slaves  are  the  only  things  great. 

Let  panderers  crouch  at  the  foreigner's  throne, 

But  your  sires  have  no  reason  to  blush  for  their  son ! 

You  are  worthy  their  pride,  and  'tis  glory  to  me 

To  see  their  high  spirit  rekindled  in  thee ! 

Oh !  pure-hearted  Celt !  of  repute  without  stain, 

Like  the  hill's  virgin  snow-sheet  untouch'd  by  the  rain! 

Independent  and  free,  as  your  sires  in  the  hall, 

But  your  mind,  like  the  spring-flower,  has  sweetness  for  all. 

True  Christian  unselfish — true  patriot  and  friend, 

With  your  hand  ever  raised  the  forlorn  to  defend ! 

Since  to  read  human  nature  I  feebly  began, 

I  can  say  it  with  pride — you're  a  true,  honest  man ! 

To  minions  of  power  tinsel-titles  are  given, 

But  the  honest  man's  worth  is  acknowledged  in  Heaven. 

Good  deeds  are  your  joy,  for  the  true  patriot-mind 
Feels  the  same  honest  love  for  his  country  and  kind, — 
And  this  is  the  heaven-worthy  feeling  that  shows 
Where  the  generous  soul's  true  nobility  glows. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 


I've  heard  patriots  talk — I've  weigh' d  their  deserts — 

With  the  lie  on  their  lips  and  the  knave  in  their  hearts — 

Who  ne'er  to  their  caste  nor  country  would  prove 

One  offering  of  kindness — one  action  of  love. 

But  honour  to  you !  I  have  seen  and  long  known 

How  the  bountiful  love  of  your  spirit  was  shown ; 

Your  service  for  others  was  never  yet  spared, 

And,  tho'  small  is  your  fortune,  'tis  lovingly  shared  ! 

But  still  you  are  rich,  for  the  Infinite  Giver 

Fills  the  house  of  the  generous  with  plenty  for  ever, 

While  the  gold  of  the  sordid  dissolves  from  his  purse, 

Or  follows  his  soul  before  God,  with  a  curse ! 

Yet,  when  to  Bunratty  your  bier  shall  be  borne, 

How  many  will  pray,  and  how  many  will  mourn ! 

And  you  will  be  carried,  and  buried,  by  none 

But  pure,  honest  hearts  and  kind  hands,  like  your  own  ;- 

And  your  true  epitaph  shall  be  read  in  their  tears, 

And  felt  in  their  bosoms  and  heard  in  their  prayers ! 


THE  NAMELESS  PATRIOT.* 
Air. — "  The  wounded  Hussar  /" 

Who  was  he,  at  Kilmallock,  the  brave  hearted  stranger 

That  daringly  breasted  the  fire  of  the  foe  ? 
Like  a  veteran  inured  to  the  battle's  grim  danger, 

He  fought  till  the  red  hail  of  death  laid  him  low. 
Nameless  he  fell  on  the  frozen  sward  dying, 

No  kind  hand  to  soothe  him  or  bear  him  away  ; 
The  dreary  March  wind  his  sad  litany  sighing, 

His  death-couch  and  pillow  the  blood-moisten'd  clay. 
When  the  brave  few  who  struck  for  their  Old  Land  retreated, 
Outnumber' d — not  routed — betray 'd — not  defeated  ; 
Their  gallant  young  comrade,  who  fought  so  elated, 

Pour'd  out  his  heart's  blood  where  behind  them  he  lay! 

When,  gory  and  cold,  by  the  wayside  they  found  him, 
Beneath  the  bleak  freezing  sky,  lifeless  and  lone  ; 

He  wore  the  lov'd  badge  of  the  Virgin  around  him, 
But  the  name  of  the  patriot  to  all  was  unknown. 

*  At  the  Fenian  raid  on  Kilmallock,  there  was  a  young  man  whose  name 
and  person  were  unknown  to  his  companions,  although  he  exposed  himself 
courageously  to  the  fire  flying  thickly  from  the  Barrack.  Next  day  his 
dead  body  was  found,  at  some  distance  from  the  place  of  action,  pierced 
•with  several  gunshot  wounds,  but  no  one  could  recognise  who  he  was  or 
from  whence  he  came.  He  was  respectably  dressed  and  had  a  gentlemanly 
appearance.    His  identity  has  remained  a  mystery. 

The  people  of  the  district  have  erected  a  handsome  monument  over  his 
remains  in  Kilmallock  churchyard. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  117 

Was  he  one  of  those  whom  our  flunkies,  so  loyal, 

With  the  foul  name,  "assassins"  so  shamefully  bann'd? 

Whose  faithful  young  bosoms  but  long'd  for  the  trial 
To  shed  their  dear  blood  for  their  suffering  Land ! 

But  prouder  your  fate,  gallant  lover  of  Erin ! 

To  fall  for  your  country — her  native  green  wearing — 

Than  bear  the  high  name  that  some  traitors  are  bearing, 
With  the  gold  of  the  spoiler  polluting  your  hand ! 

When  a  warrior,  falls  'midst  his  people,  victorious, 

With  the  foes  of  his  country  laid  'round  him  in  dust ; 
The  emblems  of  victory,  exalted  and  glorious, 

Encircle  his  statue  and  hallow  his  bust. 
But,  for  you,  son  of  Freedom !  your  fall  was  as  noble — 

You  died  for  the  Land  which  your  heart  long'd  to  save ! 
No  more  will  her  sorrows  your  young  spirit  trouble, 

Nor  tyrant  disturb  the  calm  peace  of  your  grave ! 
But  serenely  the  sweet  beams  of  heaven  now  glow  there, 
And  greenly  the  fresh,  dewy  shamrocks  grow  there  ; 
And  lovers  of  Freedom,  in  future,  will  go  there 

To  bless  the  repose  of  the  youthful  and  brave ! 


LOVE  AND  NATIONALITY. 

Air. — " Rory  O'More." 

Oh  !  pleasant  and  bright  was  the  sweet  summer-day 
When  I  sat,  with  fair  Kitty,  among  the  green  hay  ; 
With  no  one  to  witness  a  meeting  so  sweet — 
Save  the  skies  overhead  and  the  flowers  at  our  feet. 

To  their  plain,  rustic  meal  the  brown  mowers  were  gone, 

And  Kitty  and  I  in  the  fields  were  alone  ; 

I  waited  and  watch'd  to  be  near  her  all  day, 

For  my  heart  to  the  maiden  had  something  to  say. 

Her  hand — like  a  blossom  embrown'd  by  the  sun — 

I  stole  to  my  lips  and  then  press'd  with  my  own ; 

And  her  cheek,  like  the  throne  of  the  morning,  grew  bright, 

When  heaven  is  strown  with  its  roses  of  light. 

"  Now  tell  me,  my  sweet,  little  flower-queen  !"  I  said, 
"  Why  did  you  stay  from  me  all  day  in  the  mead  ? 
Twenty  times  I  stole  near  you,  while  tossing  the  hay, 
And  you  spoke  not,  but  moved,  like  a  fairy,  away  ! 

Her  hand  press'd  her  brow  and  lay  motionless  there, 
Like  a  white  July  rose  in  the  shade  of  her  hair  ; 
And  she  paused,  like  a  flower  in  the  sun's  fiery  beam, 
When  the  honey-bee  woos  it,  but  breaks  not  its  dream. 


118  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Her  eye,  from  her  hand,  like  a  rising  star,  stole, 
And  nash'd  in  my  face  all  the  rays  of  her  soul ; 
As,  with  grief  in  her  accent,  but  scorn  in  her  glance, 
She  said,  "You  had  Peggy,  last  night,  at  the  dance  1" 

"  I  had — and  I  swear  by  the  loving  and  true, 
I  only  danced  with  her  while  waiting  for  you  ! 
The  reels  were  so  fine,  and  the  jigs  so  well  play'd, 
I'd  dance  to  a  milestone  if  wanting  a  maid  ! 

"  And  'twas  well  for  the  floor — my  white  lily  of  Clare  ! — 
For  I'd  tear  it  'till  daylight  if  you  had  been  there  ! 
But  I  care  not  for  Peggy — your  thoughts  are  all  wrong, — 
And  you'll  pay  for  the  error  a  kiss  or  a  song  !'' 

"Then  I'll  give  you  the  song  !" — and  she  sung  sweet  and  well, 

As  rich  as  a  lark  and  as  clear  as  a  bell ; 

As  if  all  the  balm-breath  of  the  meadows  about, 

Had  turn'd  into  music  and  burst  from  her  mouth ! 

The  song  was  of  Erin — her  chains  and  her  tears, 
Her  visions  of  Freedom,  her  hopes  and  her  fears — 
And  each  note,  as  it  died  on  the  light  summer-wind, 
Like  the  dream  of  first  love,  left  its  sweetness  behind. 

Oh  !  blest  be  thy  soft  mouth  of  roses  and  pearls  ! 
Come — come  to  my  bosom,  my  star  of  all  girls ! 
If  all  Erin's  daughters  would  breathe  such  wild  songs, 
Her  sons  were  not  slow  in  avenging  her  wrongs  ! 


THE  GRAVE  OF  SEAAN  BUIDH*  MAC  NAMARA. 
(FIREBALL.) 

How  proudly  over  cross  and  tomb, 
Aspires  the  old  gray  tower  of  Quin  ? 

Where  in  their  narrow  beds  of  gloom 
Repose  Temora's  mighty  men  ; 

The  conquering  chief — the  princely  peer — 

Lie  silent,  cold,  and  powerless  here  ! 

Behold  yon  gray  moss-cover'd  stone, 

Where  Thomond's  maids  shed  drops  of  sorrow, 
•     There  sleeps  Seaan  Buidh,  cold,  low,  and  lone, 
The  great,  the  glorious  MacNamara ! 
The  heart  and  nerve  that  never  shook — 
The  hand  that  left  no  mark  unstruck ! 

*  "Pronounced  Shawn  Bwee,  i.e.,  yellow  John,  so  called  on  account  of  his 
swarthy  complexion.  His  tomb  can  be  seen  in  a  corner  of  the  oratory  at 
the  left-hand  side  of  the  grand  high  altar.  Quin  Abbey  was  dissolved  by 
Queen  Elizabeth,  and  granted,  with  its  appurtenances,  to  Sir  Torlogh 
O'Brien,  on  Deoember  14th,  1583."— Annals  of  Tho  mond. 


LAYS    AND  •LEOEN'DS   OF  TTIOMOKD.  119 

Alas  !  alas  !  renown'd  Seaan  Buidh  ! 

Thou  mighty  Oak  of  royal  seeds ! 
Thou  valour's  rock  of  chivalry  ! 

Thou  lion  of  the  dreadful  deeds ! 
Alas  !  that  death  should  here  conceal 
Thy  heart  of  flame — thy  hand  of  steel  ! 

On  Eire's  green  bosom  never  trod 
A  nobler  chief,  Seaan  Buidh,  than  you  ! 

Before  the  judgment  throne  of  God 
A  braver  spirit  never  flew  ! 

The  noblest  of  the  brave  thou  wert ! 

Thou  Eagle  of  the  kingly  heart  ! 

You  were  the  messenger  of  Death, 

Among  the  haughty  and  the  bold  ; 
Before  your  anger's  burning  breath 

The  tyrant's  quailing  heart  grew  cold ! 
And  many  a  one  your  hand  of  doom 
Sent  bleeding  to  an  early  tomb  !* 

Thro'  Thomond's  valleys,  many  a  day, 

Your  gallant  actions  shall  be  told ! 
Although  the  grave  has  swept  away 

The  relics  of  your  heroic  mould ! 
Your  name  shall  make  our  spirits  start, 
And  light  a  flame  in  many  a  heart ! 

v  Yet  you  were  gentle  to  the  poor, 

Dark  champion  of  the  deadly  ball ! 
And  they  were  welcome  to  your  door, 

Your  generous  board  and  friendly  hall ! 
None,  save  the  tyrants  of  the  land, 
E'er  felt  the  vengeance  of  your  hand  ! 

Here  o'er  your  dark  and  lonely  sleep, 
Recounting  your  brave  deeds  I  stand  ! 

While  desolation  seems  to  weep 

Around  those  haunted  ruins,  grand, 

That  fling  their  weird,  sepulchral  gloom 

Upon  your  solemn,  ancient  tomb  ! 

And  is  your  fiery  bosom  chill'd  ? 

And  have  your  strength  and  valour  fail'd  ? 
And  is  your  voice  of  terror  still'd, 

At  whose  dread  sound  the  mighty  quail'd  ? 
And  has  your  great  and  grand  career, 
'Mid  dust  and  worms,  ended  here  ? 

*  He  fought  fifty-seven  duels,  besides  standing  second  in  numerous 
"  affairs  of  honour."  In  all  of  those  deadly  transactions  his  opponents  were 
the  principal  sufferers. 


120  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  clang  of  combat  cannot  now 

Arouse  you  from  your  dreamless  rest ! 

The  earth-worm  crawls  upon  your  brow — 
The  cold  stone  weeps  above  your  breast — 

And  have  you  fail'd  yourself  to  save ! 

That  sent  so  many  to  the  grave  ? 

Had  Erin  many  sons,  like  thee, 

Fierce,  fiery,  noble,  proud,  and  brave  ! 

Their  swords  would  ne'er  have  fail'd  to  free 
The  poor,  degraded,  plunder' d  slave ! 

But  seldom,  in  a  hundred  years, 

A  daring  soul,  like  thine  appears ! 

From  Cuilen  *  of  the  conquering  spear, 
Your  heroic  blood  hath  nobly  flow'd  ; 

No  wonder  that  your  stern  career, 

With  valour's  fire  so  brightly  glow'd  ! 

Clan  Cuilen's  eagles  now  are  gone — 

You  were  the  last  majestic  one ! 

Here,  'mid  your  old  tomb's  moss-clad  stones, 
His  web  the  sable  spider  weaves  ; 

And  o'er  your  noble,  heroic-bones 

The  nettle  shakes  its  poisonous  leaves ! 

Oh,  vanish'd  honours  of  the  great ! 

Is  this  the  end  of  all  your  state  ? 

Oh,  gallant  Chief !  oh,  glorious  dead ! 

Where  are  the  honours  you  have  won  ? 
The  wreaths  of  fame  that  crown'd  your  head  ? 

The  deeds  of  valour  you  have  done  ? 
One  act  of  grace  linked  with  your  name, 
Were  better  now  than  all  your  fame  ! 

The  twilight  clouds  have  lost  their  glow, 
And  chillingly  the  night-mists  fall ; 

The  dreary  ruins  darker  grow, 
The  gray  owl  moans  upon  the  wall — 

I'll  leave  this  place  of  gloom  to  thee, 

Farewell !  farewell !  renown'd  Seaan  Buidh ! 


MOROGH  THE  BURNER.+ 

Oh  !  scandal  and  curse  of  the  grand  House  of  Tail ! — 
The  King-tree  of  Thomond  brought  forth  evil  fruit, 

When  its  branches  first  shelter' d  the  foes  of  the  Gael, 
But  thou  wert  a  serpent  that  crawl'd  from  its  root ! 

*  "  Cuilen,  was  the  great  progenitor  of  the  Mac  Namaras,  from  whom 
their  principal  tribe  name,  Clan-Cuilen,  was  derived  ."—Annals  of  Thomond. 

t  Morogh-an-Thutaun,  i.e.,  of  the  burnings;  fire  being  his  favourite 
means  of  wrecking  his  vengeance  on  a  hostile  country.    He  burned  many 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  121 

The  high,  leading  bough  of  its  glory  was  wither'd, 

When  among  the  poor  off-shoots  that  sprung  from  the  rind, 

Thy  seed  of  corruption  and  baseness  was  gatter'd 
To  poison  thy  country,  and  ruin  thy  kind  ! 

With  Puritan  locusts,  and  Cromwell's  death-engines, 
Thou  earnest,  a  plague-cloud  of  blood,  to  our  Isle ! 

Nor  heaven  in  its  anger,  nor  hell  in  its  vengeance, 
Could  cast  on  her  bosom  a  monster  more  vile  f 

Base  tool  in  the  hand  of  a  bloody  blasphemer ! 

God's  Priests  were  thy  victims,  His  temples  their  pyres ! 
Thou'st  trampled  the  Cross  of  the  wounded  Redeemer, 

And  ravaged  His  High  altars— built  by  thy  sires ! 

Thou  homocide- demon  of  red  desolation  ! 

Was  it  thus  thy  great  forefathers  earn'd  their  fame  ? 
In  Eire's  blood-spotted  annals,  each  new  generation 

Shall  point,  with  a  curse  on  their  lips,  at  thy  name ! 

If  heaven,  in  its  wonderful  mercy,  forgave  thee — 

Not  Earth,  with  the  wrecks  of  thy  slaughter  yet  cramm'd — 

Did  hell  in  the  jaws  of  its  fury  receive  thee  ? 

If  so,  even  there,  thou  art  curs'd  by  the  damn'd  ! 

A  Seer  has  foretold — ere  the  Last  Day  of  Doom, 

Of  Antichrist's- coming,  and  all  he  shall  do  ; 
With  the  army  of  hell  at  his  back,  let  him  come  ! 

He  can't  be  more  wicked  than  Cromwell,  or  you ! 


A  DIRGE  FOR  THE  DALCASSIANS. 

Oh  !  fierce  race  of  lions !  you've  sank  to  your  graves, 

From  the  face  of  your  land — like  the  ocean's  proud  waves — 

Fearless  and  free,  full  of  honours  you  reign' d, 

And  went  to  your  God,  with  your  brave  necks  unchain'd  ! 

Like  a  bright  dream  of  grandeur  you  faded  away, 

And  mute  are  the  halls  of  your  glory  to-day — 

Fame  cover'd  your  steps,  like  the  robe  of  a  bride, 

With  your  valour  it  lived — but  it  died  when  you  died ! 

Glory  fed  your  high  souls  with  her  fieriest  flame, 
And  Freedom  was  wildly  in  love  with  your  name  ! 
In  your  hands  hung  the  fate  and  the  balance  of  fight — 
In  your  frames  was  the  iron-nerved  spirit  of  might — 

of  our  abbeys  and  churches.    He  was  a  daring  and  determined  commander 
and  had  but  one  match,  Owen  Roe  O'Neill.    He  died  on  the  9th  of  Septem- 
ber, 1674,   aged  56  years.      His  remains  were  privately  interred  in  the 
Cathedral  of  Limerick. — Annals  of  Thomonrl. 
9 


122  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

In  your  eyes  the  dread  lightning  of  dignity  shone — 
In  your  hearts  honour  sate  on  her  sanctified  throne — 
Alas !  that  your  glory  has  faded  away, 
Like  the  unclouded  beams  of  a  long  summer-day  ! 

Your  bold  breasts  were  Freedom's  strong  temple  and  shield, 
And  your  red  wounds  were  stanch'd  with  the  moss  of  the  field!* 
Your  brave  souls  were  kind,  and  your  friendship  was  warm 
As  the  sunshine  that  melts  thro'  the  haze  of  the  storm  ! 
And  your  burning  swords  hew'd  your  fierce  enemies  down, 
'Till  your  spirits  got  drunk  with  the  wine  of  renown  ! 
For  your  bosoms— which  recklessly  squander'd  their  blood — 
Were  as  proud  as  the  angels  that  warr'd  against  God ! 

Scarce  can  I  believe,  that  Death's  iron  embrace 

Could  fetter  your  valour — oh  !  glorified  race ! — 

For  nought  save  the  Hand  of  the  Godhead  alone 

Could  cast  down  the  soul  of  your  might  from  its  throne ! 

When  led  to  the  field  by  your  princes  and  lords, 

Oh  !  the  wreck  of  an  army  was  sport  to  your  swords  ! 

Or  a  realm  by  your  arms  as  swiftly  o'erturn'd, 

As  a  city  laid  waste,  or  a  corn-field  burn'd  I 

Alas !  that  the  days  of  your  glory  are  gone, 
Like  the  long,  vanish'd  rays  of  some  extinguish'd  sun 
Alas !  that  the  slave  and  the  churl  have  grown 
Where  the  star  of  your  fame  in  its  magnitude  shone  ! 
Alas !  that  the  splendour  and  pomp  of  your  homes, 
Are  dark  and  decay'd  as  your  time-worn  tombs ! 
My  soul  bursts  in  rain,  o'er  the  wail  of  my  lyre, 
For  the  fall  of  your  grandeur — proud  spirits  of  fire  ! 

The  woods,  where  you  hunted,  are  levell'd  and  bare — 
The  halls  where  you  feasted  are  roofless  and  drear ! 
Thro'  portal  and  chamber  the  dismal  winds  howl, 
Where  solitude  shrouds  the  dark  raven  and  owl ! 
The  foot  of  the  alien  is  over  your  graves, 
And  the  heirs  of  your  princedoms  are  exiles  or  slaves ! 
From  the  cold,  dreamless  bed  of  your  rest  do  not  'wake  ! 
For  your  eyes  would  weep  blood,  and  your  proud  hearts  would 
break ! 


*  The  Irish  annalists  say,  that  the  Dalgais,  when  attacked  by  the  men 
of  Ossory,  on  their  return  from  the  battle  of  Clontarf,  stanched  their 
wounds  with  moss,  and  having  stakes  fixed  in  the  ground,  a  wounded  man 
was  tied  to  each,  with  a  strong  man  placed  at  his  side.  In  this  heroic 
position  they  Igave  battle  to  their  assailants  and  defeated  them.  It  has 
been  truly  said  by  the  historians,  that  they  (the  Dalgais)  were  the  first 
in  every  field,  and  the  last  to  leave  it. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  123 

THE  SWAN  OF  THE   AYR. 

{Addressed  to  an  Ayrshire  Ladyt) 

Here  by  the  blue  stream  of  the  deep,  winding  Shannon, 

With  a  bright  robe  of  flowers  on  his  banks  wild  and  fair, 
The  Bard  lifts  his  voice,  'mid  the  glory  of  summer, 

To  sing  the  high  praise  of  the  Swan  of  the  Ayr ! 
Thou  art  lovely  as  Spring  in  a  valley  of  blossoms, 

Thy  mind  is  a  palace  of  sunshine  all  rare  ! 
In  every  sweet  feature,  the  beauty  of  Nature 

Has  breathed  its  music — Bright  Swan  of  the  Ayr ! 

I  mark,  by  the  clear  wave,  the  stately,  young  willow, 

As  graceful  it  bows  to  the  zephyrs  of  noon  ; 
I  mark  the  wild  rose,  on  the  bank's  sunny  pillow, 

Yielding  up  its  sweet  soul  to  the  heaven  of  June ! 
That  willow  so  slender — that  red  flower  so  tender, 

With  thy  cheek  and  thy  form  can  only  compare ! 
Thy  form  is  the  willow  that  leans  o'er  the  billow, 

Thy  cheek  the  sweet  wild  rose — Bright  Swan  of  the  Ayr ! 

As  sunbeams  asleep,  on  the  silver  of  morning, 

Thy  rich  tresses  rest  on  the  throne  of  thy  brow ! 
And  thy  lips  have  the  March  evening's  rainbow- vermilion, 

With  two  calm  stars  above  and  a  white  cloud  below  ; 
The  dew's  crystal  brightness  on  blossoms  of  whiteness, 

Than  thy  breast's  snowy  heaven  was  never  more  fair ! 
The  dew  is  thy  bosom,  thy  heart  is  the  blossom, 

Thy  virtue  its  odour — Bright  Swan  of  the  Ayr ! 

One  calm  summer-night,  in  a  halo  of  slumber, 

A  sunny-hair'd  angel  was  shaped  in  my  dream ! 
But  when  I  first  knew  thee,  and  gazed  on  thy  beauty, 

I  thought  on  that  angel,  for  thou  wert  the  same ! 
I've  heard,  from  the  wild  dell,  the  music  of  Fairies, 

As  they  rode  on  a  cloud  o'er  the  grand  hills  of  Clare  ; 
But  thy  voice  sweetly  ringing,  when  speaking  or  singing, 

Hath  the  spell  of  their  air-harps — Bright  Swan  of  the  Ayr  ! 

Thou'st  come  from  the  Land  of  romance,  love  and  glory ! 

The  fair  Caledonia  of  valour  and  song, 
In  whose  glens  so  romantic,  and  mountains  gigantic, 

Fame,  freedom  and  chivalry  flourished  so  long ! 
Thou'st  come  to  our  heaven-bright,  Emerald  Island, 

The  down-trodden  Land  of  the  "smile  and  the  tear !" 
Then  welcome,  thou  dear  one — thou  angelic  fair  one ! 

Sweet  Lily  of  Sunville— Bright  Swan  of  the  Ayr ! 


124  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


THE  BATTLE  OF  FREDERICKSBURGH.* 

On  Fredericksburgh's  embattled  plain  calm  look'd  the  lord  of 

light, 
And'  slow  the  sunny-bosom'd  haze  was  melting  in  his  sight ; 
While  glittering  in  one  iron  blaze,  two  mighty  armies  stood, 
And  soon  did  mother  Earth  drink  deep  her  furious  children's 

blood. 

Around  the  dark  hills,  tier  on  tier,  the  Rebel  guns  are  set, 
And  sternly  on  the  plain  below  the  Federal  powers  are  met ; 
From  Rappahannock's  bounding  flood  to  Fredericksburgh  is 

seen 
The  war-god's  chess  board  studded  thick  with  lines  of  warlike 


In  bristling  ridges,  o'er  the  field,  the  numerous  bands  deploy — 
A  dazzling  sea  of  sunbright  steel  on  all  sides  meets  the  eye ; 
While  rifle-pit  and  battery,  with  grim  destruction  rife, 
Expand  their  black,  devouring  mouths  athirst  for  human  life. 

But  who  are  those  majestic  troops,  so  stalwart,  stern  and 

proud, 
That  move  in  awful  grandeur,  like  the  desert's  deadly  cloud? 
Each  wears  a  green  wreath  o'er  his  heart,  with  manly  pride 

display'd — 
Oh !  those  are  Erin's  exiled  sons,  bold  Meagher's  fierce  Brigade ! 

Lo !  in  their  fiery  Celtic  eyes  what  martial  lightnings  play? 
They  look,  like  eagles  gazing  round  the  stormy  hills  for  prey  ; 
With  quick,  impatient  glance  they  view  the  Rebels'  dreadful 

hold, 
Like  hungry  leopards  glaring  on  a  well-defended  fold. 

Now,  peal  on  peal,  the  skirmishers  their  hostile  fire  began, 
And  rapidly  from  sky  to  sky  the  ringing  echoes  ran ; 
And  fierce,  and  fast  the  wave-like  ranks  to  meet  the  onset  form, 
As  move  the  sand-hills  when  they  feel  the  coming  Simoom- 
storm. 

"Fix  bayonets  ! — charge, — and  take  the  hills !"  was  heard  the 

stern  command, 
And,  with  a  cheer  and  headlong  dash,  on  swept  the  Irish  band ; 
The  gallant  Meagher,  sword  in  hand,  the  rushing  war-surge 

led, 
As  brave  a  Chief  as  ever  gemm'd  an  Irish  army's  head ! 

*  I  have  introduced  this  Irish- American  battle-scene  into  the  volume, 
-merely  because  Meagher's  Irish  Brigade  so  fiercely  and  recklessly  fought  and- 
fell  at  Fredericksburgh. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  125 

Across  the  sounding  plain  they  drive  their  desperate  tide  of 

might — ■ 
Their  bayonet-points,   like  rushing  stars  above  the  sea  at 

night — 
Their  battle-yell,  the  thunder's  voice  in  heaven's  cloudy  hall, 
Or  Niagara's  mighty  war-shout,  where  his  giant-torrents  fall. 

The  batteries  ope'd  their  iron  throats,   with  one  tremendous 

roar, 
And  shot,  and  shell  thro'  rifted  lines,  like  naming  rivers,  tore ; 
Still  fast  and  fierce  as  they  advance,  as  fierce  and  fast  among 
Their  melting  ranks  the  Rebel-guns  the  metal  death-showers 

flung. 

On  flank  and  front,  from  right  to  left,  the  shattering  shot  and 

shell, 
In  blazing  hurricanes  of  death,  upon  the  phalanx  fell ; 
Still  on  they  press,  like  some  great  war-ship  cleaving  tide  and 

wind, 
A  sea  of  rolling  flame  before— a  bloody  surge  behind ! 

As  roars  the  dread  volcano  when  its  fiery  bowels  heave 
Upon  the  scorch'd  and  blasted  plain  the  lava's  burning  wave  ; 
Thus  roar'd  and  roll'd  the  avalanche  of  fire  thro'  flank  and  van; 
And  still  they  close  their  ball-plough'd  ranks  and  furiously 
rush  on. 

They  near  the  hills,  and  fiercer  still  the  iron  deluge  grows, 
From  rifle-pit  and  battery  the  fiery  showers  arose; 
Earth  shook,  as  on  that  fated  band  the  flaming  flood  descends, 
Heaven  rung,  as  if  the  Last  Day's  blast  had  swept  thro'  all  its 
ends. 

As  towers,  in  shapeless  masses,  from  their  deep  foundations 

thrown, 
When  an  earthquake  yawns,  and  draws  its  breath,  and  sucks 

a  city  down ; 
Thus  reel'd  and  sank,  in  horrid  wreck,  the  columns  of  the  Gael, 
Before  that  all-destroying  storm  of  blazing  metal-hail. 

As  in  their  summer  glory  fall  the  fair  oaks  of  the  wood, 
Thus  lay  the  brave,  young  comely  Celts  mow'd  down  in  dust 

and  blood ; 
WhilQ  X)'er  the  crimson  ruin  roll'd  the  Rebels'  triumph-yell, 
The  remnant  of  that  stern  Brigade  back,  like  a  spent  wave, 
... .  '^11. 

Well  may  ye  shout,  ye  Rebel  powers"!  but  were  ye  on  the  plain, 
In  equal  battle  with  those  Celts,  you'd  never  shout  again! 
Be  thankful  to  your  strongholds  for  the  victory  you  enjoy, 
Or  btepdy  Fredericksburgh  would  be  another  Fontenoy !         $ 


126  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Oh,  valiant  sons  of  Golamh's  race !  *  exiled  by  English  laws! 

Thus  do  ye  perish  in  the  van  of  every  foreign  cause ! 
In  court  and  council — war  or  peace,  your  mainly  worth  is  known, 
And  thus  ye  toil,  and  bleed,  and  die  for  all  lands  but  your  own  ! 

The  world,  in  mute  sensation,  at  your  superhuman  deeds, 
Mourns  o'er  the  reeking  field  where  your  stupendous  valour 

bleeds  ! 
The  trumpet-echo  of  your  fame  from  pole  to  pole  has  spread, 
While  crownless  Erin  in  the  dust  bewails  her  children  dead. 

Now  dreadful  on  the  Federal  right  the  stormy  battle  raged, 
As,  like  the  ocean's  furious  dash,  the  mighty  powers  engaged  ; 
One  deafening  roar  of  blazing  guns  along  the  hills  is  heard, 
And  bloody  rivers,  bank'd  with  dead,  along  the  plains  appear'd. 

But  vainly  on  the  Rebel-holds  they  drive,  with  surging  shock, 
Host  after  host  is  hurl'cl  back,  like  billows  from  a  rock ; 
Still  fiercely  o'er  the  fallen  lines  fresh  masses  drive  amain, 
And  still  as  fast  the  Rebel -batteries  mow  them  on  the  plain. 

Where  were  you,  great  M'Clelland?  You  so  valiant,  wise  and 

kind! 
Where  were  you,  when  that  awful  field  required  your  mighty 

mind  ? 
If  you  were  there,  the  bloody  hand  of  slaughter  had  been 

stay'd ! 
And  still  the  Union  would  exult  in  many  a  brave  Brigade! 

Oh !  Burnside  !  ill-starr'd  of  war !  the  night  is  gathering  on ! 
The  day  was  spent  in  blood,  and  yet  the  Rebels  hold  their 

own. — 
Oh!  who  can  tell,  thou  hapless  Chief !  thy  bosom's  rending 

pain, 
To  see  thy  mighty,  matchless  host  thus  sacrificed  in  vain? 

Withhold  thy  gloomy  veil,   0  Night  !    0  'Lamp  of  Heaven, 

delay 
Thy  downward  course,  'till  he  retrieves  the  honors  of  the  day ! 
Alas!    the    darkness  thickens  fast — oh,    God!    for  Joshua's 

prayers, 
For  one  brief  period,  to  suspend  the  motion  of  the  spheres! 

The  dusky  night-fall  blended  with  the  war-field's  sulphurous 

haze, 
The  throat  of  battle  ceased  to  roar  and  belch  the  deadly  blaze ; 
Twas  like  the  awful  calm  that  heralds  ruin  to  the  earth — 
The  ghastly  stillness  that   precedes  some   dread  eruption's 

birth.— 

*  Milesius. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOXD.  127 

Lo!  how  the  vengeful  Federals  collect  their  scatter'd  might, 
Thick  as  the  flying  clouds  of  heaven,  upon  a  stormy  night ! 
And,  like  the  sudden  fury  of  the  fierce  tornado's  course, 
Right  forward  on  the  Rebel-hills  they  hurl  their  frantic  force. 

One   giant-flame    leap'd    redly  up    and  overthrew    Night's 

throne, — 
One  roar  of  cannon  seem'd  to  shake  the  sounding  planets 

down; — 
One  fiery  surge  of  iron  on  the  Federal  ranks  burst  forth, 
As  if  heaven  and  hell  contended  for  the  mastery  of  earth ! 

Death  gloated  o'er  the  Federal  host,  and,  with  dire  vengeance, 

quaffd, 
From  many  a  brave  expiring  heart,  the  last  exhaustive  draught ! 
Again  grim   silence   wrapt   the   scene — the   shatter'd   troops 

recross'd 
The  Rappahannock's  gloomy  tide — and  Fredericksburgh  was 

lost! 


THE  FATE  OF  DE  QUINCY.* 

De  Quincy  went  forth,  in  the  day  of  his  pride, 
When  the  daughter  of  Strongbow  became  his  fair  bride  ; 
And  the  swords  of  his  might  were  like  meteors  that  fall 
O'er  the  face  of  Loch  Swilly  in  green  Donegal. 

And  the  warriors  he  led,  were  as  fierce,  and  as  bold, 
As  the  demons  that  dwell  in  the  clouds  of  the  wold ; 
For  the  death-yell  of  slaughter  was  sweet  to  their  ears, 
And  the  strong  hand  of  plunder  and  ruin  was  theirs. 

Their  horse-hair  plumes  darken'd  their  helmets'  gold  comes, 
Like  the  night-spreading  mist  on  the  hills'  yellow  thrones, 
When  the  sun,  like  a  furnace,  is  burning  the  wave, 
With  his  flame  dimly  seen  thro'  the  cloud-bars  of  eve. 

The  princely  domains  of  O'Dempsey  they  burn'd, 
And  the  high  palace-halls  of  his  mansion  o'erturn'd ; 
They  slaughter'd  his  people  and  plunder'd  his  bawns, 
Nor  steeds,  kine,  nor  corn  did  they  leave  on  his  lawns. 

And  De  Quincy  march'd  home,  in  the  joy  of  his  fame, 
To  lay  the  rich  spoil  at  the  feet  of  his  dame  : 
"  Those  gems  of  O'Dempsey 's  proud  daughters  !"  he  cried, 
"Will  look  well  in  the  bright,  silken  locks  of  my  bride  !" 

*  He  was  not  long  married  to  Strongbow' s  daughter,  when  he  led  a  band 
of  Norman  brigands  into  O'Dempsey's  country  in  Leinster,  to  plunder  and 
sack  it.  He  was  set  upon  by  the  Chief,  O'Dempsey,  at  the  head  of  his  clan, 
and  the  invaders,  with  their  leader,  were  soon  cut  to  pieces. — Four  Masters. 


128  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  his  knights  sang  the  song  of  their  triumph,  and  drove 
Their  steeds,  swift  as  eagles  when  towering  above  ; 
But  fierce  as  the  blast  to  October's  sere  leaf, 
Sprung  O'Dempsey's  wild  clan  on  the  track  of  the  Chief. 

And  high  in  the  van,  like  a  fire  in  the  skies, 
With  the  flames  of  his  soul  all  alive  in  his  eyes, 
The  injured  O'Dempsey  his  blazing  sword  whirl'd, 
Like  the  lightning  of  God  o'er  the  guilt  of  the  world ! 

Mad  on  the  foe  burst  his  clan,  with  a  cheer, 

And  dire  was  the  clangor  of  corslet  and  spear ; 

And  the  blood-drinking  war-axe,  with  helm-riving  shock, 

Roar'd,  like  heaven's  bolt  of  fire  when  it  shatters  a  rock. 


Brief,  bloody  and  brave  was  the  battle  they  fought, 
And  dreadful  the  meed  to  the  robbers  they  brought ; 
For  De  Quincy  and  all  his  fierce  brigands  were  smash'd, 
And  the  flesh  of  their  frames  to  the  mountain-wolves  dash'd  ! 

Sad  news  for  proud  Strongbow — The  terrible  tale 
Has  gone,  like  a  blast,  thro'  the  homes  of  the  Pale — 
And  the  eyes  of  his  radiant-hair'd  daughter  are  red, 
With  the  rain  of  her  soul,  for  the  fate  of  the  dead. 


THE   BATTLE   OF   FANCONRAD.* 
king  Brian's  address  to  the  dalgais. 

"  Fam'd  sons  of  Olliol  Ollum  !"  Brian  cried, 

"  In  this  great  day  be  all  your  valour  tried ! 

Be  like  your  fathers,  with  your  swords  and  shields, 

And  sweep  the  pirates  from  your  wasted  fields  ! 

Let  the  grim  Dane  and  rude  O'Foelan  know 

Mononia's  wrath  in  every  hostile  blow  ! 

Let  your  red  falchions  make  the  blood-springs  flow, 

And  swallow  lives,  as  sunbeams  drink  the  snow ! 

*  Donald  O'Foelan,  King  of  the  Decies,  was  stung  to  resentment  against 
Brian  Boroimhe,  on  account  of  the  severe  defeat  which  Molloy  Mac  Bran 
and  Donovan  suffered  at  the  hands  of  that  monarch ;  and  in  revenge,  he 
(O'Foelan)  raised  a  great  army  of  Danes  and  Irish,  and  invaded  Brian's 
territories  with  fire  and  sword.  Brian  immediately  marched  against  him, 
at  the  head  of  his  brave  Dalgais,  set  upon  the  devastators  at  a  place 
called  Fanconrad,  in  the  county  Tipperary,  and  after  a  furious  engage- 
ment, drove  them,  with  great  slaughter,  into  Waterford,  where  O'Foelan 
was  slain  with  all  his  officers,  and  Brian's  army  plundered  and  burned 
the  city  to  the  ground. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  129 

Think  of  your  sires,  who,  first  in  every  field, 
(The  shield  of  armies  and  Mononia's  shield, ) 
Pour'd  their  hot  vengeance  on  the  pirate-band, 
And  mow'd  the  battle,  with  a  flaming  hand  ! 
Think  of  Dundalgia,*  where  the  blue  sea-flood 
Boil'd  with  a  fire-shower  of  the  Northmen's  blood ! 
Where  your  fierce  sires  fought,  like  the  ocean's  storms, 
Leaping  from  heaven,  with  ruin  in  their  arms ! 
Let  this  great  thought  inflame  your  souls  to-day, 
Whet  your  revenge  and  nerve  your  arms  to  slay ! 
Give  the  red  robbers  their  well-earn'd  reward, 
Death-blows  and  graves — the  wages  of  the  sword ! 
Who  spares  a  foreign  or  a  native  foe, 
May  Freedom's  God  destroy  him  at  a  blow ! 
Mark,  the  red  flames  our  verdant  vales  invade, 
What  clouds  of  smoke  the  blacken' d  skies  o'ershade  ! 
Hear  how  the  spoilers'  shouts  triumphant  swell, 
And  startle  heaven  with  their  savage  yell  ! 
On  with  the  Lionsf  thro'  the  wood  of  war  ! 
Lift  the  brass  shield  and  hurl  the  greedy  spear  ! 
Give  the  blue  war-axe  and  the  sword  full  swing, 
And  quench  their  lightning  in  a  crimson  spring  ! 
Rush,  like  a  flame  from  heaven's  consuming  eye — 
Strike,  like  the  thunder  from  a  burning  sky — 
Charge,  like  a  flood  with  raging  torrents  swell'd — 
Break  the  war's  beam  and  sweep  the  roaring  field !" 

Fierce  was  the  war-whoop  from  the  troops  that  burst 

And  in  the  field  their  monarch  was  the  first ; 

His  fiery  armour,  in  a  blaze  of  beams, 

Look'd  like  the  Ghebre's  tall  round  tower  in  flames. 

His  plume,  like  midnight's  angry  storm-cloud  shook 

Above  the  mountain-grandeur  of  his  look  ; 

And  as  he  whirl'd  his  fire-emitting  brand, 

He  seem'd,  in  front  of  his  gigantic  band, 

A  war-god,  with  a  meteor  in  his  hand ! 

Onward  they  sweep  in  one  tremendous  flood, 
As  when  a  hurricane  swings  the  dancing  wood ; 
Their  flaming  weapons,  like  a  burning  grove, 
Emblaze  the  cloud-line  of  their  crests  above  ; 

*  The  memorable  battle  of  Dundalk,  where  the  naval  squadron  of  Munster, 
commanded  by  the  gallant  Admiral  Felba  Fion,  attacked  the  Danish  fleet, 
and  encountered  the  land  and  sea  forces  of  the  foreigners,  who  were  nearly 
ten  to  one.  The  army  of  Munster  were  looking  from  the  shore  at  the  bloody 
and  unequal  struggle,  but  could  render  no  assistance  to  their  countrymen, 
who,  seeing  themselves  overmatched  by  the  superior  numbers  of  the  enemy, 
sooner  than  yield,  flew  on  the  Danish  officers  and  principal  chiefs,  grasped 
them,  and  leaped  overboard  with  them  into  the  sea.  The  Danes,  terrified 
at  such  awful  achievements,  hoisted  sails  and  fled,  leaving  the  Irish  victo- 
rious.— Keating. 

t  The  provincial  banner  of  the  "  Three  Yellow  Lions.1' 


130  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND. 

And  their  blue  helmets  seem'd,  as  they  march' d  on, 

Like  torrent-billows  flashing  in  the  sun. 

Fierce  met  the  hosts,  like  two  huge  mountains  swung 

Against  each  other,  by  an  earthquake  flung  ; 

Rocks,  woods  and  streams  in  thunderous  ruin  driven — 

Earth  starts  amazed  and  groans  aloud  to  heaven ; 

Thus  the  dread  crash  of  breaking  ranks  was  heard, 

And  such  dire  ruin  thro'  the  fields  appear'd. 

The  cleft  shields  shriek — the  grinding  axes  roar— 

The  plunging  spears  thro'  bursting  corslets  tore — 

The  raging  swords  spit  blood  in  heaven's  eye, 

As  on  earth»s  red  lap  roll'd  her  sons  to  die  ! 

Thro'  the  mad  tumult  Brian's  helmet  burns, 

Like  a  March  sun  in  darkness  plunged,  by  turns, 

When  the  black  Storm-king  hunts  the  clouds  thro'  space, 

And  flings  their  shadows  in  his  blazing  face. 

As  on  the  hand  of  the  Almighty  power, 
The  rushing  wave-hills  of  the  ocean  roar  ; 
His  great  command  the  awful  deeps  obey, 
And,  in  their  madness,  hear  his  dread  decree  ; 
Thus,  in  the  war,  the  furious  Dalcas  bands 
Heard  and  obeyed  their  monarch's  fierce  commands ; 
Where'er  he  points  his  mowing  falchion,  there 
Death  spreads  a  feast  and  earth  partakes  her  share. 
On  his  broad  shield  the  iron  breakers  roar, 
Around  his  feet  the  war's  red  fountains  pour  ; 
Proud  and  unshaken  'mid  the  shock  he  strides, 
And  with  the  battle  girds  his  towering  sides. 

O'er  the  scoured  plain  the  flaming  conflict  pass'd, 
As  thro'  a  pine  grove  sweeps  the  Polar  blast, 
The  sylvan  giants,  hurl'd  from  their  beds, 
Stoop  from  the  sky  and  roll  on  earth  their  heads. 
With  such  wild  ruin  and  disorder  riven, 
O'Foelan's  armies  from  the  field  are  driven ; 
The  shouting  Dalgais  drive  upon  their  track, 
Like  sea-fiends  roaring  round  a  shatter'd  wreck. 
On  roll'd  the  vengeance  of  the  battle-cloud, 
With  spirits  flying  from  its  crimson  shroud ; 
The  strong  blows  sounded,  like  a  cascade's  roar 
When  o'er  the  river  drives  a  hailstone  shower, 
While  the  mad  surges,  in  wild  shouting  ranks, 
Toss  their  white  plumes  and  charge  against  the  banks. 
So  dire  the  wreck — so  furious  was  the  rout — 
So  fierce  the  clamour,  and  so  wild  the  shout — 
The  armies  seem'd  a  wood  by  storms,  uptorn 
And,  roll'd  together,  o'er  the  country  borne. 

Bards  of  Kinkora !  strike  your  harps,  and  sing 
The  mighty  actions  of  your  Hero-king  ! 
Lo  !  he  s  returning  to  his  halls  of  joy, 
Grand  as  the  Day -god  in  a  morning  sky ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  131 

His  foes  are  crush'd,  and  round  his  regal  car 
Stride  the  grim  hewers  of  the  grove  of  war  ! 
Strike  the  wild  harp  !  your  Victor-king  comes  on, 
As  proud  as  Niall,*  and  as  fierce  as  Conn  !  t 


BARDIC  MEDITATIONS. 

By  the  soft-sounding  waves  of  the  Fergus  I  lay, 
And  my  spirit  drank  deep  of  their  music  all  day  ; 
While  the  clouds  of  my  destiny  seem'd  to  depart 
In  the  sunburst  of  rapture  that  gushed  from  my  heart. 

And  my  soul,  with  the  wings  of  her  transport  unfurl'd, 
Flew  up  to  the  Lord  of  this  beautiful  world  ; 
And  from  the  starr'd  halls  of  his  Palace  survey'd, 
Creation  in  all  its  resplendence  array'd. 

And  fondly  I  gazed  on  the  proud  hills  of  Clare, 
With  the  blue  sky  o'erglassing  their  green  foreheads  fair ; 
While  my  heart  to  their  thrones,  like  a  morning  ray,  sprang, 
And  pierced  the  blue  glooms  where  the  leaping  streams  sang. 

Thro'  Hy  Caisin's  bright  country  of  legends  I  pass'd, 
Where  the  fragrant  birch  forest  its  green  shadows  cast, 
And  the  wild  mountain-blast  croons  a  requiem  of  sorrow 
Round  the  ghost-haunted  towers  of  the  fierce  MacNamara 

I  sigh'd  for  the  race  of  the  valiant  and  strong, 

That  dwelt  'mid  those  grand  hills  when  Erin  was  young ; 

Ere  the  steel-hearted  Saxon  polluted  our  sod, 

Or  cowering  slaves  crawl'd  where  the  mighty  once  trod. 

I  gazed  on  the  radiant  plains  cover'd  with  bloom, 
Where  the  famish 'd  serf  weeps  o'er  his  desolate  home ; 
While  the  golden  fruits  rear'd  by  the  toil  of  his  hand, 
Are  devour'd  by  the  foes  of  his  dear  Motherland. 

Oh  !  helots  of  Erin  !  when  will  ye  be  men, 
To  grasp  the  bright  steel  of  your  fathers  again  ? 
And  stand  in  the  blaze  of  the  battle's  red  fire, 
Like  them,  to  win  freedom  or  nobly  expire  ! 

The  birds  of  the  air  and  the  beasts  of  the  wood, 
On  the  mountains,  around  you,  find  shelter  and  food ; 
While  you — oh  !  lost  Celts  ! — have  no  homes  to  enjoy, 
But  are  cast  on  the  world  to  famish  and  die. 

*  Nial  of  the  Nine  Hostages.  f  Conn  of  the  Hundred  Battles. 


132  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Has  cowardice  flung  o'er  your  spirits  its  rust  ? — 
What  curse  or  what  spell  keeps  your  hearts  in  the  dust  ? 
Or  why  act  ye  brave  when  to  strange  lands  ye  roam  ? — 
Bold  heroes  "  abroad  "—but  base  helots  at  "  home  /" 

Instead  of  the  sword — brightly  raised  for  your  land — 
'Tis  the  knife  of  the  traitor  that  gleams  in  your  hand  ! 
And  the  Saxon — that  always  has  found  you  a  fool, 
To  work  your  own  ruin — still  makes  you  his  tool ! 

Is  your  nature  debased  with  that  vile  coward-creed 
Which  says  'tis  a  crime  for  your  country  to  bleed  ? 
Its  cancer  and  curse  in  your  souls  have  found  root, 
And  exile,  and  famine,  and  death  are  its  fruit. 

Ere  your  masters  the  claims  of  your  country  shall  feel, 
You  must  speak  to  their  hearts  with  the  ring  of  your  steel 
What  humbled  the  tyrant  on  Israel's  plain  ? 
'Twas  the  sword  of  the  Lord  in  the  hand  of  Gideon  ! 

Throughout  your  sad  Island  oppression  walks  bare, 
With  the  joy  of  a  fiend  o'er  a  damn'd  soul's  despair  ; 
You  may  starve — 'tis  no  treason — but  dare  you  lay  claim 
To  the  fowls  of  the  air  or  the  fish  of  the  stream  ? 

And"  you  talk — while  the  curse  of  the  burden  is  borne — 
'Till  manhood  and  honour  have  damn'd  you  to  scorn  ! 
'Till,  like  Cain-branded  felons  and  outlaws,  you're  cast 
Into  living  Sepulchres*  to  perish  at  last ! 

Want  clings  round  your  steps,  as  the  worm  to  its  slime — 
Your  commerce  is  treason — your  virtue  is  crime — 
Your  are  hated  and  hunted,  insulted  and  bann'd, 
As  lumber  and  rubbish  encumbering  the  land  ! 

Ah !  'twere  nobler  to  die  on  the  red  field  of  fame, 
With  a  wreath  on  your  deeds  and  a  light  on  your  name, 
Than,  like  women,  to  mourn  and  talk  o'er  your. chains, 
'Till  the  spirit  of  manhood  grows  sick  in  your  veins  ! 

The  Muscovite  robber  was  scourged  by  the  Poles  ! 

Will  the  fire  of  their  deeds  give  a  spark  to  your  souls  ? 

How  bravely  they  wasted  the  blood  of  their  veins, 

While  you  murmur'd,  like  beggars,  and  skulk'd  in  your  chains ! 

Oh  !  great  God  of  vengeance !  how  long  will  our  cry, 
Rise  up  to  the  throne  of  thy  glory  on  high  ? 
Oh  !  when  will  the  Beggars  of  Egypt  be  free, 
Who,  thro1  ages  of  hunger,  are  faithful  to  Thee  ? 

*  Poorhouses. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  133 

Lo  !  thy  vineyard  is  pillaged  by  cowards  and  thieves  ! 
And  thy  temple  is  crowded  with  huxters  and  knaves  ! 
And  the  shepherds  of  Israel  have  fallen  asleep,  ** 
While  the  Philistine-wolves  are  devouring  thy  sheep  ! 


THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  CURLEW  MOUNTAINS.* 

In  splendour  array 'd, 

Stern  Clifford  came  forth, 
With  his  host  to  invade 

The  green  plains  of  the  North  ; 
And  many  a  Knight, 

With  high  hope  in  his  eyes, 
Set  out,  with  delight, 

On  the  fierce  enterprise. 

With  a  hero's  heart  swelling, 

And  bright  as  a  star, 
The  lordly  Dunkellin 

Rode  on  to  the  war ; 
With  Rathcliff,  whose  sword 

Was  tremendous  in  fight — 
A  tower  and  a  ford 

Were  the  chiefs  in  their  might. 

"  On — on  to  the  mountain, 

Our  foes'  dwelling  rude  ! 
Let  your  swords  in  a  fountain 

Of  blood  be  imbrued  ! 
'Till  their  fastness  of  safety 

With  carnage  is  spread, 
And  the  valley  grows  lofty 

With  piles  of  their  dead  !" 

With  cavalry  prancing, 

Their  march  they  begun ; 
With  helmets  all  glancing 

The  blaze  of  the  sun  : 
With  eager  hearts  heaving 

For  conquest  and  spoil, 
Strode  the  fierce  brigands  leaving 

The  borders  of  Boyle. 

With  red  banners  streaming, 

The  gorgeous  array — 
With  battle-spears  flaming, 

Tramped  proud  on  their  way — 

*  Sir  Connyers  Clifford  led  a  strong  division  of  Lord  Essex's  arlny  to 
penetrate  through  the  defiles  of  the  Curlew  Mountains,  into  Tyrconnell. 
They  had  advanced  only  midway  in  the  glen,  when,  with  the  rush  of  a  winter 
torrent,  the  Clan  Connaill  was  upogltkem,  and  cut  them  to  pieces.— Jo hn 
Mitchell's  Life  of  Hugh  O'Neill. 


134  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Thro'  the  glen's  rocky  border 

They  hurry  along, 
In  grand  martial  order, 

Majestic  and  strong. 

The  mountains  are  silent — 

No  murmur  is  heard, 
Save  the  stream  from  the  highland, 

And  song  of  the  bird, 
Whilst — reckless  of  danger — 

Like  wolves  from  their  den — 
The  ranks  of  the  stranger 

Drive  on  thro'  the  glen. 

As  bursts  the  red  thunder, 

Fierce,  sudden  and  loud, 
Swift  rending  asunder 

The  grey  mountain-cloud-  - 
As  the  wintry  surge  swells 

Round  a  sea-faring  crew — 
So  rang  the  wild  hills, 

With,   "  O'Donnell  Aboo  /" 

The  bagpipes  are  sounding 

Tyrconnell's  dread  charge ; 
The  clansmen  are  bounding, 

With  war-axe  and  targe  ; 
Where  the  shadowy  fern 

Has  spread  its  deep  screen, 
A  host  of  wild  Kerne, 

Fierce,  rising,  is  seen. 

As  an  Autumn  flood  sweeping, 

Augmented  by  rain, 
From  the  mountain's  breast  leaping 

On  crops  of  the  plain, 
So  swift,  in  their  ire, 

Dash'd  Tyrconnell's  fierce  clans — 
A  torrent  of  fire — 

On  the  Sassenach  bands. 


As  a  wrave  to  the  coast 

Swings  a  ship  on  its  track, 
So  Clifford's  bold  host 

Thro'  the  ravine  sways  back 
While,  furiously  dashing 

On  column  and  rank, 
Tyrconnell  drives,  crashing 

Thro'  centre  and  lank. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  135 

Like  the  fury  of  heaven, 

Roar'd  musket  and  sword, — 
Like  thunder-hail  driven, 

The  bullets  were  shower'd  ; — 
Like  a  storm-flash  brightning, 

The  blue-gleaming  axe, 
With  the  vengeance  of  lightning, 

The  foeman  attacks. 

The  death-knell  of  battle 

Swells  higher  and  higher — 
The  mountain  rocks  rattle 

With  falchion  and  fire  ! 
O'er  the  war-surge  high  heaving, 

Is  heard  the  dread  crash 
Of  the  ringing  axe  cleaving 

Thro'  armour  and  flesh. 


As  a  ghost  on  the  wings 

Of  the  tempest  of  night, 
The  fierce  Red  Hugh  springs 

Thro'  the  flames  of  the  fight ; 
The  Leader  he  singled — 

Their  weapons  are  raised — 
While  around,  fiercely  mingled, 

The  battle-tide  blazed. 

As  rushes  the  beagle 

On  Callan's  wild  fawn, 
As  sweeps  the  strong  eagle 

O'er  woodland  and  lawn, 
So  to  combat  they  rush'd, 

And  their  cleaving  brands  flew 
But  Clifford's  blood  blush'd 

On  the  steel  of  Red  Hugh. 

The  contest  grows  tangled — 

The  Saxon  gives  way, 
Where  the  war-axes  mangled 

His  broken  array ; 
No  leader  to  rally, 

No  room  for  retreat, 
In  that  slaughter-fill'd  valley 

One  grave  is  their  fate. 

In  bloody  profusion 

The  columns  are  tost ; 
Disorder — confusjpn — 

Environ  the  holt ! 


136  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Like  the  blast  of  contagion 

By  Azrael  blown, 
So  that  late  splendid  legion 

Lay  bleeding  and  strown. 

Like  a  wood  cleft  asunder 

And  flung  in  a  mass, 
The  carnage  lies  under 

The  shades  of  the  Pass — 
The  granite  is  painted — 

One  cheer — All  is  done — 
The  war-shout  has  fainted — 

The  victory's  won  ! 

The  red  tide  is  welling 

From  mountain  to  plain — 
Rathcliff  and  Dunkellin 

Are  mix'd  with  the  slain — 
The  eagles  are  speeding 

To  feast  on  the  dead, 
Where,  still  freshly  bleeding, 

The  corpses  lie  spread. 

There's  harping  and  feasting 

In  Ulster  to-night ; 
The  victors  are  hast'ning 

To  share  the  delight ; 
The  maids  of  Tyrconnell 

Are  chanting  a  song 
In  praise  of  O'Donnell, 

The  valiant  and  strong. 


MAC  GENNIS'S  DAUGHTER. 

In  Coonagh's  wild  meadows  the  May-flowers  are  springing, 
In  Meelick's  green  woodlands  the  wild  birds  are  singing, 
And  the  light  mountain -zephyr  has  curled  the  blue  water 
That  flows  near  the  home  of  Mac  Gennis's  daughter  ! 
The  sun  o'er  the  bright  bosom'd-fields  is  ascending — 
The  gold  of  his  beams  with  their  verdure  is  blending, 
And  the  primroses  peep,  from  their  dewy  recesses 
Round  the  azure-eyed  maid  of  the  bright-yellow  tresses  ! 

The  balm  of  the  rich  moorland-thyme  is  not  sweeter 
Than  the  heart-winning  smile  of  young  Jane,  when  I  meet  her ! 
How  oft,  with  the  song  of  her  beauty,  I've  sought  her, 
And  spoke  with  my  soul  to  Mac  Gennis's  daughter  ? 
How  oft  have  I  play'd  with  her  long  ringlets  streaming, 
And  gazed  on  her  face  with  its  love-spirit  beaming, 
And  press'd  her  small  hand  than  the  lily's  head  whiter, 
And  marked  her  glad  eyes  than  the  sunny  rills  brighter  ? 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  137 

The  poppies  that  flush  'mid  the  ripe-waving  corn — 
The  sun-gems  that  glow  in  the  red  crown  of  morn, — 
The  crimson  of  sunset  on  Shannon's  calm  water — ■ 
Would  fade  in  the  blush  of  Mac  Gennis's  daughter  ! 
The  soft, dawn  of  Cana  o'er  moorland  springs  bending — 
The  white  moonlight  clouds  on  the  dark  hills  descending — 
The  snow-spirit's  robe,  or  the  hue  of  the  blossom — 
Were  dark  in  their  glory  if  peer'd  with  her  bosom  ! 


The  foxglove*  that  stars  the  green  skirt  of  the  meadow — 
The  wild-rose  that  sleeps  in  the  mountain's  blue  shadow — 
The  heath-bells  that  garland  the  eagle's  high  eyrie — 
The  snow- drops  that  gem  the  weird  haunts  of  the  fairy — 
The  sun-bow  that  zones  the  red  bosom  of  even' — 
When  the  shower-clouds,  like  jewels,  are  melting  in  heaven — 
The  face  of  the  blue-bell,  with  summer-tears  laden — 
Hath  not  the  wild  beauty  that  beam'd  in  the  maiden  ! 


In  the  hall  of  her  father  no  virgin  was  milder, 
In  the  bright  fields  no  reindeer  was  fleeter  or  wilder, 
For  the  sun  of  her  heart  knew  no  shadow  of  sadness, 
And  her  soiil  was  a  harp  tuned  to  anthems  of  gladness  ! 
Her  love  was  a  pure  fount  of  feeling  and  kindness, 
Where  my  spirit  fell  in  and  was  drown'd  in  its  blindness, 
For  I  walk'd,  like  a  Magian,  thro'  air-halls  enchanted, 
'Till  my  life  with  wild  love-dreams  and  angels  was  haunted ! 

By  the  Fairies'  green  palace  near  yon  wTaveless  fountain, 
By  the  woods  of  the  vale  and  the  rocks  of  the  mountain, 
We  strayed  thro'  the  mists  of  the  crimson-eyed  even' — 
When  the  meadows  were  white  with  the  crystals  of  heaven ; 
While  her  eyes,  like  two  star-worlds,  glisten'd  delighted, 
With  the  love  songs  and  legends  I  sang  or  recited, 
'Till  my  fancy  grew  drunk  o'er  the  pictures  it  brought  her, 
For  my  soul  was  in  love  with  Mac  Gennis's  daughter  ! 


But  time  brought  a  change  on  his  pinions  of  fleetness, 
That  darken'd  our  joys  in  their  full  summer  sweetness  ! 
Woe  fell  on  the  land — and  o'er  ocean's  green  water 
Mac  Gennis  hath,  sailed  with  his  beautiful  daughter  ! 
I  stood  on  the  shore,  with  my  wounded  heart  beating, 
And  saw  her  tall  bark  down  the  Shannon  retreating  ; 
Oh  !  she  gazed  from  the  deck,  and  I  curs'd  the  dark  water 
That  roll'd  between  me  and  Mac  Gennis's  daughter  ! 


»  Commonly  known  as  the  lusmore,  or  fairy  herb. 
10 


138  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMeND. 

In  Meelick's  green  woodlands  the  Spring  is  returning, 
And  the  golden-brow'd  sun  on  the  mountains  is  burning, 
And  the  gushing  streams  sing  thro'  the  flower-bosom'd  valleys, 
And  the  dales  are  all  robed  with  wild  roses  and  lilies  ! 
I  stray'd  on  the  lawn,  by  her  cottage  forlorn, 
Where  the  sounding  trees  dance  to  the  songs  of  the  morn, 
And  my  love-dreaming  heart  thro'  the  lone  garden  sought  her — 
Oh  !  tell  me,  ye  flowers  !  where's  Mac  Gennis's  daughter  ? 


ADDRESS  TO  AUBREY  DE  VERE,  ESQ. 

Oh,  gifted  Bard  !  thy  swelling  song 

Is  rife  with  Nature's  genial  fire  ! 
Impassion'd,  lofty,  chaste,  and  strong, 

Burst  forth  the  wild  notes  of  thy  lyre  ! 
Thy  wizard  Muse  on  glowing  wing 

Shoots  forward,  as  a  golden  dart, 
And,  with  a  startling  trumpet-ring, 

Awakes  and  thrills  the  charm'd  heart ! 


How  radiant  in  thy  classic  lay 

The  summer's  floral  glories  beam? 
As  if  the  vernal  gems  of  May 

Were  woven  in  thy  flowery  theme  ! 
As  in  the  river's  morning  gleam, 

Bank,  bower,  and  sunny  heaven  appear, 
Thus  in  thy  song's  resplendent  stream 

Bright  Nature's  beauty  sparkles  clear  ! 

Oh  !  may  thy  rich  heart  long  enjoy 

The  glorious  gift  of  song  divine  ! 
And  ne'er  may  envious  worm  destroy 

Thy  page,  where  Poesy's  jewels  shine  ! 
Thp'  faintly  sounds  this  lyre  of  mine, 

Its  master's  heart  can  treasure  well 
The  soul  delighting  tones  of  thine, 

And  feel  the  sweetness  of  their  spell  ! 


Tho'  to  thy  numbers'  lofty  sound 

My  voice  is  but  a  linnet's  thrill, 
Amid  the  cascade's  music  drown'd, — 

Proud-rushing  from  a  lordly  hill ! 
Accept — great  Bard — this  simple  lay 

An  humble  brother  minstrel  gives, 
Whose  spirit  walks  the  aerial  way 

Where  Fancy  charms  and  Beauty  lives  ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  139 

THE  BRIDE  OF  CLAN  CUILEN.* 

A  ROMANCE  OF  CARRIGOGTTNNELL.f 
CANTO  I. 

The  woodlands  are  calm,  and  the  rude  winds  are  laid, 

And  the  landscape  is  red  with  the  sun's  parting  ray  ; 
The  pearly  clouds  float  o'er  the  mountain's  blue  shade, 

And  Nature  is  dressed  in  the  beauty  of  May ; 
The  yellow  West  glows,  like  a  bright  golden  treasure, 

No  stain  dims  the  calm,  sapphire  splendour  of  heaven  ; 
The  night-queen  looks  down  from  her  palace  of  azure,     . 

And  her  handmaid-stars  weep  o'er  the  pale,  dying  even'. 
But  hark  !  to  the  sound  of  the  gay  bridal-revel — 

In  the  grand  hall  of  Carrig  the  wedding  guests  meet ; 
And  the  bridesmaids  are  pacing  the  lawn's  flowery  level, 

With  lips  red  as  berries,  and  necks  white  as  sleet — 
For  the  Lord  of  the  Rock,  the  renown'd  Mac  Con  Mara,  % 

The  prince  of  thy  banquets,  Clan  Cuilen  of  swords  ! 
Has  given  his  fair  child  to  O'Brien  of  Ara,§ 

The  bravest  and  best  of  Mononia's  proud  lords  ! 

Lightly  the  bride  from  the  altar's  returning, 
Brightly  the  bonfires  before  her  are  burning ; 
Sweetly  the  tones  of  the  bagpipes  are  ringing, 
Fleetly  the  gay,  youthful  dancers  are  springing. 
Proudly  the  chiefs  round  the  bridal  feast  gather- 
Loudly  resounds  the  old  halls  of  her  father ; 
Grandly  the  rich  golden  meaders  are  glowing, 
Blandly  the  notes  of  the  clarseachs  are  flowing; 
Eveleen  reigns  the  young  queen  of  the  wassail — 
Revelling  and  song  shake  the  glorious  old  Castle, 
Valleys  and  plains  send  their  tributes  to  meet  her — 
Allies  and  Seanachies  are  coming  to  greet  her  ; 

*  The  principality  of  the  Mac  Namaras,  which  comprised  Coonagh,  Crat- 
loe,  Bunratty,  Upper  and  Lower  Tulla,  and  a  part  of  other  districts,  in 
Thomond.  The  greater  portion  of  those  lands  was  bestowed  to  them,  after 
the  battle  of  Dysart,  as  a  reward  for  their  services  to  the  Trinces  of  Tho- 
mond. 

t  Carrigogunnell,  the  ancient  patrimony  of  a  branch  of  the  O'Briens, 
was,  for  a  short  period,  in  the  hands  of  the  Mac  Namaras  of  Clan  Cuilen, 
through  an  intermarriage  of  the  families. 

t  Commonly  pronounced  Mac  Namara,  i.e.,  Son  of  the  sea. 

?  "Ara,  a  small  mountain  district,  north  of  the  Keeper  Hills.  It  was  the 
principality  of  a  branch  of  the  Thomond  Princes,  called  the  O'Briens  of 
Ara;  they  were  descended  from  the  consummate  warrior,  Brian  Bane,  who 
settled  in  Ara,  a.d.  1318,  and  expelled  the  Clan  Fion  Bloid,  the  original 
owners,  from  the  district.  The  life  of  this  formidable  Chief  was  one  con- 
tinued tragedy  of  battle,  bloodshed,  burning,  and  foray.  He  was,  at  length, 
assassinated  by  the  Clan  Mac  Keogh,  in  the  year  1350.  His  death  was 
amply  avenged  by  his  son,  Torlogh  Oge,  who  exterminated  the  Clan  Keogh, 
and  seized  on  their  lands  and  chattels."— Annals  of  Thomond. 


140  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Clansman  and  chief  from  the  mountain  and  wildwood, 
Kinsman  and  bard  from  the  glens  of  their  childhood ! 
The  wealth  and  the  might  of  Clan  Cuilen  and  Ara, 
All  throng  the  proud  mansion  of  brave  Mac  Con  Mara  ! 

Rich  sirloins  are  smoking — brown  ale  and  red  wine — 
Thro'  the  gay  banquet-hall  pour  their  currents  divine  ! 
Behold  in  the  dais  the  brave  and  the  fair  ! 
What  grandeur  and  glory,  and  beauty  are  there  ? 
What  chivalrous  bearing— what  high  queenly  pride — 
What  order  and  dignity  reign  on  each  side  ? 
There  are  warriors  whose  arms  would  shatter  a  band — 
There  are  ladies  whose  charms  would  conquer  the  land  ! 
Proud  eyes  that  would  strike  through  the  souls  of  the  boldest, 
And  smiles  that  would  warm  the  hearts  of  the  coldest. 
Like  a  star-circled  heaven  the  flashing  hall  glow'd — 
Each  dame  seem'd  an  angel,  each  chieftain  a  god  ! 

Pour  thy  wild  song,  oh,  Mac  Curtin  the  gifted  !  \ 
The  dancers'  light  feet  to  thy  measure  are  lifted  ! 
The  ladies  and  lords  of  Clan  Cuilen  the  bright, 
Shall  move  to  thy  harp's  fairy  music  to-night ! 
The  sweet  ringing' numbers  enchantingly  pour, 
And  the  pride  of  all  Thomond  appears  on  the  floor  ; 
Eyes  glance,  jewels  glitter,  and  flushing  cheeks  burn, 
A»  they  glide  thro'  the  mazes,  change  sides  and  return — 
What  majesty  brightens  each  eye  and  each  face  ? 
What  noble  deportment — what  dignified  grace 
Mark  the  step  and  the  bearing  of  each  in  the  ring  ? 
Each  dam$  looks  a  princess — each  hero  a  king  ! 

The  revel  grows  wilder — more  wine  is  supplied, 
And  more  boisterous  gaiety  comes  with  its  tide  ! 
The  ringing  towers  tremble — the  wine- bowls  resound — 
The  boards  are  replenished — the  toast  goes  around — 
Hospitality  reigns  in  its  wildest  profusion, 
Singing,  laughing,  and  dancing,  all  blend  in  confusion  ! 
Wild  cheers  of  applause,  as  the  dancers  prevail, 
Ring  thro'  the  rafters,  and  swell  on  the  gale ! 

There's  a  cloud  o'er  the  Castle — there's  mist  on  the  heath, 

And  the  woods  seem  as  wrapt  in  the  darkness  of  death — 

Tho'  the  moon,  in  mid-heaven,  beholds  not  a  trace 

Of  a  cloud  on  her  pathway,  nor  mist  on  her  face  ! 

A  gloom  from  yon  summit  pervades  the  still  air, 

For  the  dark  fairy  hosts  of  Knocfeirin  are  there  ; 

And  their  monarch  has  vow'd — ere  the  dawn  of  the  morrow — 

To  crown,  as  his  queen,  Eveleen  Ni  Con  Mara  ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  141 

But  the  Fays  of  Clan  Cuilen — who  know  his  design — * 
(To  protect  the  young  princess)  against  him  combine ; 
They  muster  their  legions  on  Cratloe's  dark  height, 
With  the  mountain-mist  round  them  all  silent  and  white. 

From  valley  and  woodland,  and  river,  and  bower 

They  gather  fresh  forces  to  strengthen  their  power  ; 

Fierce  cavaliers  mounted  on  meteors  appear, 

And  artillery  arm'd  with  terrors  of  air ; 

The  growing  battalions,  rank  pressing  on  rank, 

Stretch  down  from  the  hill  to  the  wide  river-bank, 

They  cross  the  broad  Shannon  to  Carrig's  low  plain, 

And  seek  to  the  Castle  a  passage  to  gain ; 

But  the  hosts  of  Knocfeirin — a  deep,  cloudy  mass — 

In  arms,  have  guarded  each  wing  of  the  pass  I 

To  attack  them  the  powers  of  Clan  Cuilen  prepare, 

And  they  hastily  summoned  a  council  of  war ; 

On  the  tops  of  the  reeds,  in  the  moon's  dewy  light, 

They  convened,  and  concocted  the  plan  of  the  light ! 

The  leaders'  designs  to  the  troops  are  convey 'd, — 

And  a  dash  on  the  host  of  Knocfeirin  is  made ; 

Before  them  the  foremost  divisions  retire — 

Then  the  furious  artillery  opened  their  fire, 

And  the  cavalry  charged  in  a  whirlwind  of  hail, 

And  a  fierce  peal  of  thunder  resounds  thro'  the  vale ! 

The  powers  of  Knocfeirin  are  shatter'd  in  twain, 

And  a  dark-rolling  cloud  bears  them  off  from  the  plain; 

In  lightning  and  whirlwind  the  victors  pursue, 

And  the  route  of  the  battle  rolls  on  to  Tirvoe  ! 

The  blast-stricken  forest  oaks  crackle  and  groan, 

The  elm  is  broken— the  ash  lies  o'erthrown ! 

There's  a  pause  in  the  tempest,  a  minute  or  more, 

As  if  gathering  its  breath,  with  more  wrath  than  before, 

And  a  cloud,  dark  and  angry,  looms  full  on  the  view 

Towards  the  point,  in  the  air,  where  the  routed  host  flew — 

From  distant  Knoc  Greine  new  forces  arrive,  t 

And  fierce  on  the  powers  of  Clan  Cuilen  they  drive; 

In  his  chariot  of  meteors,  the  mighty  King  Donn 

Led  the  wild,  stormy  sweep  of  the  battle  charge  on — 

Loud  roar  the  hills,  and  the  forests  lie  bare, 

As  the  cloud-cover'd  combatants  meet  in  the  air, 

Some  are  tost  to  the  ground — some  are  driven  thro'  the  sky 

And  the  streaming  mists  burst  where  the  broken  ranks  fly. 

Clan  Cuilen  is  flying,  in  wrath  and  despair, 

And  the  dreadful  route  rolls  towards  the  dark  hills  of  Clare ! 

+h*  I<5.ia.8*rong1y  believed  by  the  peasantry,  that  the  Fairy  government*  of 
me  adjoining  counties  sometimes  disagree  on  some  mysterious  principles, 
and  consequently  th,e  Fairy  hosts,  on  both  sides,  get  into  furious  conflicts? 

•coun^Limenck.6,  '*  *'   ™  °f  *"  Sun'  ^^  8reat  fairy  fortre88> 


142  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  waves  of  the  Shannon  dance  up  from  their  bed 
Where  the  scatter'd  hosts  pass  in  a  squall  overhead ; 
Some  to  the  deep  woods  of  Cratloe  repair, 
And  hide  their  defeat  in  the  gloomy  shades  there, 
Whilst  others,  more  close  by  the  enemy  press'd, 
Plunge  down  to  the  river  and  lie  on  its  breast. 

The  victors  triumphant  to  Carrig  return — 
(Ah !  soon  shall  the  bridegroom  and  bridal  guests  mourn), 
Round  the  Rock's  mighty  shadow,  in  silence  they  glide — 
Awaiting  the  signal  to  capture  the  Bride ! 

The  dance  and  the  song  shake  the  canopied  hall, 

And  the  fair  Eveleen  is  the  fairest  of  all, 

'Mid  her  train  of  young  virgins,  she  beams  on  the  sight, 

Like  a  May-rose  surrounded  by  lilies  of  light! 

On  her  snow-neck  of  beauty  her  raven-locks  stream, 

Like. a  dark  summer-cloud  on  the  moon's  silvery  beam 

Steeping  its  folds  in  soft,  lustrous  whiteness, 

Half-shading,  half-showing  the  beautiful  brightness ! 

A  circlet  of  diamonds  emblazon'd  her  brow, 

Like  dew  on  the  flower  of  the  sweet  apple  bough ; 

The  spirit  of  loveliness  beam'd  in  her  face, 

With  a  soul-charming  majesty  lending  its  grace; 

And  her  red  lips,  when  smiling,  revealed  to  the  sight 

A  treasure  of  pearl  that  laughed  at  the  light ! 

But  a  heavenlier  beauty  adorned  her  mind — 

To  all  she  was  gentle — to  all  she  was  kind ; 

For  seraph-toned  kindness  and  beauty's  sweet  power 

Live,  brightly  allied,  like  the  sun  and  the  flower ! 

She  is  up  in  the  dance,  and  her  small  feet  appear, 

Like  two  playful  butterflies  circling  thro'  air — 

So  light  does  she  tread  that  the  gazers  around 

Cannot  see  where  her  fairy  foot  touches  the  ground ! 

No  echo  awakes  at  the  fall  of  her  tread, 

And  her  shadow  seems  beating  the  floor  in  her  stead ; 

As  snow-flakes  that  float  on  the  gale's  breathing  wing, 

Her  glancing  feet  seem'd  o'er  the  marble  to  sail, 
'Till  the  moisture  gush'd  out  on  her  brow,  glistening, 

Like  honeydew  fresh  on  the  rose  of  the  vale. 

'Mid  the  toasts  and  applause  of  the  festival  throng, 
Her  lord  led  her  out  on  the  Rock's  airy  height — 
The  May-moon  thro'  heaven  was  stealing  along, 

Like  a  bright  pearl-shield  on  the  bosom  of  night ; 
Dark,  silent,  and  solemn  the  woods  lay  at  rest, 
Like  large  sable  spots  on  the  earth's  yellow  vest ; 
And  the  cold,  sullen,  distant  hills  seemed  to  declare, 
That  no  living  beings,  save  spectres,  were  there! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF     THOMOND.  H3 

Round  the  Rock  a  deep  ridge  of  white  vapour  was  thrown, 
As  if  belting  its  shades  with  a  huge  silver  zone  ; 
And  the  stillness  that  wrapt  the  lone  plains  in  its  pall, 
Was  lovely  and  soothing,  but  fearful  withal — 
A  weird,  pensive  solemness  breathing  alone, 
On  the  wrapt  ear  of  fancy,  a  spiritual  tone. 

The  cold,  mournful  moonlight,  calm,  misty,  and  gray, 
Like  a  dim  winding-sheet,  on  the  ivied  towers  lay  ; 
And  each  stone-shafted  casement  peered  out  in  the  light, 
From  the  dark  coat  of  ivy  that  circled  their  white. 

But  why  clings  Eveleen  to  the  breast  of  her  lord? 

What  sight  has  she  seen  or  what  sound  has  she  heard? 

'Tis  the  moan  of  the  owl  from  yon  mist-covered  rock — 

'Tis  the  croak  of  the  raven  that  sits  on  the  oak — 

'Tis  the  whine  of  the  wolf-hounds  that  crouch  in  the  fern — 

'Tis  the  wail  of  the  banshee  that  haunts  the  gray  cairn — 

'Tis  the  tone  of  the  harps  from  the  banquet-hall,  dying, 

Like  a  dirge  for  the  dead  in  the  lone  churchyard  sighing ! 

She  throws  her  white  arms  the  bridegroom  around, 

But  the  bridegroom  stands  still,  as  if  chained  to  the  ground 

He  shakes,  like  a  young  willow-tree  in  the  gale — 

His  eyes  are  distorted,  his  cheek  has  grown  pale — 

"Oh !  hearest  thou  not  that  lamentable  cry? 

'Tis  the  banshee  bewailing  some  soul  on  the  wing! 
Haste !  haste  from  this  spot — to  the  hall  let  us  fly, 

My  heart's  blood  with  terror  is  chilled  in  its  spring!" 
Scarce  had  she  spoken  when  round  them  was  driven 

A  dense  cloud  of  gloom,  like  the  rush  of  a  river, 
As  if  the  machine  of  refulgence  in  heaven 

Was  suddenly  dashed  into  darkness  for  ever ! 
"  Oh  God  I "  screamed  the  maid,  in  wild  terror  and  wonder — 
And  a  weird  laugh  replied,  like  the  echo  of  thunder — 
Her  fear-fettered  limbs  lost  all  nerve  to  retreat, 
And  her  lord  is  struck  powerless  and  pale  at  her  feet ! 
A  cold  hand,  unseen,  on  her  bosom  is  laid, 

With  a  heart-chilling  death-grip,  resistless  and  strong, 
And  rudely  upswung  o'er  the  Rock's  giant-shade, 

Like  a  snow-flake  in  tempests,  she's  hurried  along; 
Her  bursting  cries  startled  the  night-shadows  round — 
The  echoes  leaped  out  from  their  caves  at  the  sound ; 
The  owlet  abandoned  the  turret-wall  hoar,~ 
And  the  gray  plover  screamed,  and  flew  off  to  the  shore ; 
The  wild  cry  of  terror  the  banquet  appals, 
And  the  bridesmaidens,  shrieking,  rush  into  the  halls ! 

"Chiefs  I  chiefs!"  Mac  Con  Mara,  in  agony,  cried, 
Some  dreadful  mishap  has  befallen  the  bride ! 
Quick,  quick  to  avenge  her !  your  broadswords  are  strong, 
And  woe  to  the  cause  of  the  outrage  or  wrong !" 


i4 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


As  rain-torrents  down  the  gray  mountain-rocks  leaping, 
As  hawks  o'er  the  cloud-crested  Cratloe  woods  sweeping, 
So  rushed  from  the  Castle  the  strength  of  its  men, 
And  followed  the  cries  of  the  lost  Eveleen ! 
Mac  Con  Mara  was  first,  with  his  war-axe  and  spear, 
Like  a  bloodhound  let  loose  on  the  track  of  a  deer ; 
And  lowland,  and  highland,  and  shrub-covered  waste 
Are  lost  in  the  rush  of  his  lightning-like  haste. 
No  longer  they  hear  her  faint  screamings  resound — 
They  rush,  all  outrageous,  and  search  all  around, 
Till,  cast  on  a  crag  where  the  fern  was  green, 
They  found  the  remains  of  the  lost  Eveleen — 
Like  a  snow-ridge — when  snow  is  dissolving  away — 
In  her  white  bridal-raiment  cold,  silent  she  lay  ; 
Her  hair  in  the  rock-brier  lay  tangled  and  strewn — 
Her  semblance  was  there  but  the  maiden  was  gone ! 

Dimly  the  death-lights  in  Carrig  are  burning — 
Grimly  the  clansmen  sit  round,  in  their  mourning ; 
Starkly  the  bride  lies  beneath  the  pall- cover, 
Darkly  the  banners  of  death  hang  above  her ! 
Sadly  the  "keeners"  the  death-song  are  singing, 
Madly  the  matrons  their  pale  hands  are  wringing; 
Lowly  the  harps'  plaintive  requiem  is  swelling, 
Slowly  and  solemn  the  death-bells  are  knelling; 
Restless  and  wild  is  the  wail  of  the  weeper, 
Listless  and  mild  is  the  sleep  of  the  sleeper ; 
Roundly  the  burning  tears  burst  from  hearts  bleeding, 
Soundly  sweet  Eveleen  slumbers  unheeding — 
Grief  reigns  thro'  the  dwelling  of  proud  Mac  Con  Mara — 
Chieftains  and  clansmen  all  weep  with  one  sorrow  ! 

And  now  the  third  morning  arose  on  their  mourning, 
And  the  sun  on  the  wild,  rolling  Shannon  is  burning; 
Gently  the  tide,  with  a  soft  breeze,  is  trembling, 
And  fast  on  the  green  shore  the  clans  are  assembling. 
A  hundred  light  boats,  on  the  stream's  flowery  margin, 
Await  the  slow  bier  of  the  young  bridal-virgin ! 
Lo !  it  comes — with  the  greatest  and  grandest  attending, 
From  the  Rock's  giant  towers  to  the  blue  tide  descending ; 
Around  are  her  kinsmen,  the  proudest  and  oldest, 
And  her  pall  is  upheld  by  the  bravest  and  boldest — 
Round  her  bier,  in  the  dark  badge  of  mourning  all  sullen, 
Droop'd  the  banner  of  Thomond  and  Flag  of  Clan  Cuilen, 
While  the  breeze,  in  their  folds,  sung  a  dirge  note  of  sorrow 
O'er  the  Swan  of  the  Rock,  Eveleen  Ni  Con  Mara! 

O'er  the  grand,  kingly  Shannon  the  light  boats  are  dashing, 
Brightly  the  oars  in  the  sunlight  are  flashing, 
While  the  harps'  solemn  numbers  and  keeners'  wild  dirge, 
In  beautiful  sorrow,  swell  deep  o'er  the  surge. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  145 

On  Cratloe's  wild  shore  the  procession  is  landing, 
Where  Thomond's  tall  chiefs  to  receive  it  are  standing — 
The  lord  of  Moyrisk,  with  his  amber-haired  daughters, 
And  the  gloomy-brow'd  Chief  of  Cullane's  fairy  waters. 
Ennistymon's  dread  warrior,  with  gossips  and  kinsmen, 
Kilkishan's  fierce  champion,  with  allies  and  clansmen  ; 
Corofin's  lordly  ruler,  the  generous  and  brave, 
And  Cratloe's  Chief,  wild  as  a  storm-tost^wave  ! 
Many  a  fierce  tribe  and  turbulent  leader 
Whose  head  never  bowed  to  the  haughty  invader — 
From  Callan  of  storms  to  golden  Kinkora — 
From  Coonagh's  green  borders  to  dark  Kilfenora — 
From  wild  Corcumroe  to  the  blue  hills  of  Ara — 
Now  throng  round  thy  bier,  Eveleen  Ni  Con  Mara  ! 
Lightly  their  plumes  on  the  May- wind  are  streaming, 
Brightly  their  cochals  and  goghals  are  gleaming  ; 
In  long,  golden  masses  their  cooluns  are  flowing, 
And  the  purest  of  gold  on  their  garments  is  glowing  ! 
Tall,  comely  and  strong  was  each  warrior's  proportion, 
By  Nature's  hand  knit,  like  the  cliffs  of  the  ocean  ; 
The  lightning  of  war  in  their  proud  eyes  seem'd  blazing, 
And  majesty  sat  on  their  brows  sternly  pleasing  ! 

Quietly  to  Croaghane*  the  funeral  is  wending, 
Whitely  the  plumes  o'er  the  dark  bier  are  bending ; 
Bow'd  are  the  heads  of  the  chieftains,  slow  pacing, 
Loud  and  melodious  the  "  caoine  "  is  increasing  ; 
Thrilling  it  swells  on  the  gale's  pensive  mildness, 
Filling  the  woods  with  its  beautiful  wildness — 
Now  round  the  churchyard  young  Eveleen's  borne, 
To  the  last  resting-place  of  her  mortal  sojourn  ; 
Weary  their  hands  make  the  narrow  grave  ready, 
Dreary  and  deep  is  the  bed  of  the  lady  ; 
Down  in  its  gloom  is  the  coffin  laid  lowly, 
And  the  brown  clay  is  cast  on  its  dark  bosom  slowly. 
The  saintly  priest  offers  the  prayers  for  the  dead — 
The  requiem  is  sung  and  the  solemn  Mass  said — 
The  grave  is  closed  up,  and  the  crowd  has  departed, 
And  the  mountain- winds  sigh  o'er  the  sleeper  deserted. 

Westward  the  sun  in  the  red  wave  is  drowning, 
Eastward  the  night's  cloudy  visage  is  frowning  ; 
Day,  on  the  mountain,  his  banner  is  furling, 
Gray  from  the  fountain  the  light  mists  are  curling. 
Maids  in  bright  bands  from  the  woodlands  are  pouring — 
Wreaths  from  white  hands  on  the  new  grave  are  showering — 
Qh  !  many  a  sweet  bud,  dew'd  with  hot  tears  of  sorrow, 
Is  strewn  on  thy  grave,  Eveleen  Ni  Con  Mara  ! 

*  It  was  a  favourite  burial-place  of  the  Clan  Cuilen,  eyen  long  beforp 
Quin  Abbey  was  founded  by  a  chief  of  the  tribe. 


146  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

But  the  lore-loving  Seanachie0  shake  the  gray  head, 

And  declare  that  a  Fairy  was  left  in  her  stead, 

For  the  lovely  young  bride  by  a  wizard  was  seen 

On  Knocfeirin's  dark  hill,  with  King  Donn  and  his  Queen.f 

CANTO  II. 

In  Carrig's  gray  Castle  the. death- song  has  ceased, 
And  the  chiefs  have  retired  from  the  funeral  feast ; 
The  wine-bowls  are  empty,  the  boards  are  undrest — 
Round  the  huge  bogwood  fire  whisper  inmate  and  guest. 
The  clansmen  repose  on  the  rush-cover' d  floor, 
The  deer-hounds  in  idleness  doze  at  the  door  ; 
The  funeral  flags  in  the  great  hall  are  hung, 
The  chambers  are  silent,  the  harp  is  unstrung — 
The  Seanachies,  stretched  on  the  lawn's  grassy  bed, 
Tell  many  a  weird  legend  and  tale  of  the  dead  ; 
And  they  whisper,  in  secret,  how  fair  Eveleen, 
With  the  King  of  the  hills,  at  Knocfeirin,  was  seen. 

In  his  state  chamber  sate  the  bereaved  Mac  Con  Mara, 

Sternly  wrapt  in  the  deep,  sullen  gloom  of  his  grief  ; 
And,  near  on  a  couch,  lay  the  proud  Lord  of  Ara — 

Every  feeling,  but  life,  all  extinct  in  the  chief. 
And  there,  since  the  dark  night  of  wonder  and  dread, 

Unconscious  of  being,  the  mighty  one  lay  ; 
Strength,  speech,  sight,  and  all  vital  energy  fled, 

Leaving  nothing  behind  but  the  mere  breathing  clay. 
And  the  skill'd  leech  attends,  but  his  skill  hath  no  power 

To  adjust  the  life-springs  of  the  darken'd  machine — 
Still  and  pulseless  he  lay,  as  a  frost-bitten  flower 

That  the  mild,  dewy  May-sun  hath  nourished  in  vain. 
On  a  silken-lined  cushion,  Mac  Curtin  the  bard 

Of  Clan  Cuilen,  sat  close  by  the  Lord  of  the  Rock  ; 
And  he  wept  for  the  generous  son  of  the  sword 

That  ne'er  turned  back  from  the  battle's  red  shock. 

But  he  bent  towards  his  master  and  spoke  in  his  ear, 

And  the  Chief's  haughty  brow  blazed  with  ire,  as  he  spoke, 
And  he  writhed,  as  if  an  assassin  drew  near, 

And  gave  his  proud  bosom  a  death-dealing  stroke. 
"Then  who,"  said  the  Chief,  while  his  eyes  shot  a  flame, 

"  Saw  my  Swan  of  Clan  Cuilen  at  cloudy  Knocfeirin  ? 
By  the  great  Loghlin  Laidir^  but  tell  me  his  name, 

And,  whoever  he  be,  I'll  pursue  him  through  Erin  !" 

*  Historians  or  story-tellers,    Every  family  of  note  had  its  Seanachie. 

+  Donn  Fearneach,  the  Fairy  King  of  Monster,  is  supposed  to  hold 'his 
court  at  Knocfeirin,  in  the  county  Limerick. 

%  Loghlin  Laidir,  i.e.,  the  strong  Mac  Namara,  was  Prince  of  Clan  Cuilen 
in  the  fourteenth  century.  «He  was  styled  the  Hercules  of  Thomond,  Tra- 
dition relates  that  no  man  of  the  Dalgais  of  his  time  was  able  to  poise  his 
Spear,  Afield  his  battle-axe,  or  wear  his  armour.  Quin  Abbey  was  founded 
by  one  of  bis  sons  in  1402. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  147 

"  'Twas  Horan,  the  Wizard !"  Mac  Curtin  replied, 
"Who  knows  all  the  mysteries  of  Fairyland  well ; 

He  dwells  by  the  wild  banks  of  Maige's  foamy  tide, — 
Bring  him  here,  and  the  tale  he'll  not  falter  to  tell !" 

The  Wizard  was  brought  to  the  great  Castle-hall — 

Weird  was  his  aspect  and  gloomy  his  eye  ; 
Like  the  hill's  blasted  pine-shaft,  his  figure  was  tall, 

But  thin  as  the  arm  of  a  cloud  in  the  sky — 
"What  of  my  daughter?"  the  angry  Chief  cried, 

Or  how  has  this  wild  Fairy  fiction  gone  out  ? 
Tell  me,  dark  Wizard  of  Maige's  woody  side, 

Did  the  many-hued  story  proceed  from  thy  mouth  ? " 
"  Proud  Lord  !"  said  the  Spellman.    "  I'm  author  of  all 

Thou  hast  heard  of  thy  snow-bosom'd  child,  Eveleen  ? 
'Twas  but  yester-eve,  as  the  night's  solemn  fall 

Spread  its  mantle  of  shadows,  thy  daughter  was  seen ! " 
"Where,  and  by  whom?"  said  the  Chief,  growing  kind, 

While  the  big  tear  extinguish'd  the  fire  of  his  glance  ; 
"By  me,  at  Knocfeirin  !"  the  Wizard  rejoin'd, 

"  I  saw  her  trip  light,  with  King  Donn,  in  the  dance  !" 

A  chill  shudder  ran  thro'  the  warrior's  frame, 

He  bent  his  proud  head,  like  an  oak  in  the  wind, 
And  his  soul  thro'  his  eyes  seem'd  to  leap  in  a  stream 

That  burn'd  a  track  on  the  cheek  where  it  shined. — 
"  Man  of  dark  Spirit-lore  !  tell  me  all  that  thou  know'st  !" 

Said  the  Chief,   ' '  and  I  swear  by  the  steel  of  my  sword  ! 
That,  for  all  the  knowledge  thou  kindly  bestow'st, 

Half  my  lands  and  my  treasure  shall  be  thy  reward  ! " 
"  Thy  lands  nor  thy  treasure  I  dare  not  accept, 

Else  ruin  wTere  mine  ! "  said  the  Wizard  of  lore ; 
"  But  the  secret  I'll  tell  thee,  with  faith  must  be  kept, 

'Till  the  tenth  starry  night  of  the  Maytime  be  o'er  ! 

"  I  sat  on  the  crest  of  the  cairn  of  Knoc  Rue — 

The  pearl-edged  moon,  in  her  night-walk,  look'd  stilly 
On  the  black  firs  that  peep'd  from  their  couches  of  dew, 

Thro'  the  mist's  floating  silver  that  curtain'd  the  hill — 
And  I  saw  in  the  blue  west  a  blood-colour'd  cloud 

That  assumed  the  dimensions  and  state  of  a  car, 
Such  as  Conn  of  the  Battles,  triumphant  and  proud, 

Drove  to  Asoil  begirt  with  the  terrors  of  war ! 
And  in  moonlight  array,  from  the  east  to  the  west, 

Tall  horsemen  and  footmen  troop'd  swift  thro'  the  air^ 
And  I  scann'd  the  cloud-chariot  around  which  they  press'd,1 

And  I  saw  Eveleen  with  the  Fairy  King  there  ! 
Then  I  gather'd  the  seed  of  the  hill-fern  green,* 

And  proceeded,  at  once,  to  Knocfeirin's  Air-Towers,         • 

*  It  is  superstitiously  believed  that  any  person  who  is  lucky  enough  to 
find  the  fern-seed,  can  possess  the  power  qf  making  himself  invisible. 


148  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  there,  in  my  mantle  of  magic  unseen, 

I  watch'd  the  descent  of  the  great  Fairy  powers ! 
On  the  hill  they  alighted,  more  numerous  than  leaves 

In  sylvan  Adare  of  the  silver-toned  flood  ! 
When  the  chill,  dreary  blast  of  October's  bleak  eves 

Sweeps  them  out  from  the  deep,  golden  heart  of  the  wood  ! 
Eveleen  was  received  by  three  hundred  white  maids, 

Whose  lily-cheeks  look'd,  in  the  moon's  pensive  beam, 
Like  mushrooms  seen  'mid  the  dewy  grass-blades, 

When  Autumn  is  kindling  the  clouds  into  flame  ! 
And  they  held  in  their  hands  jewell'd  vases  of  flowers, 

Blue-bells  and  snow-drops,  and  crimson  lusmore, 
Which  they  wantonly  scatter'd,  in  glittering  showers, 

On  Eveleen's  way  to  the  grand  palace-door ! 
The  King  took  her  arm,  and  led  her  along, 

And  she  stepp'd  with  such  ease  on  the  bright  flowery  bed, 
Her  foot-fall  seem'd  breathing  a  low,  moonlight  song, 

And  no  blossom  was  broken  nor  crush'd  by  her  tread  ! 
Oh  !  had  you  but  seen  her  high  look,  at  that  hour, 

With  her  locks,  like  a  spring-cloud  of  splendour,  uncurl'd, 
You'd  say  that  her  eyes  had  some  meaning  of  power 

To  command  the  great  tribes  of  the  bright  Fairy  world ! 
She  was  led  to  the  high  Airy  Chamber  of  State, 

Where  the  wond'rous  gems  of  a  thousand  mines  shone ; 
Which  seem'd  a  compound  of  light,  beauty,  and  heat, 

Created  to  brighten  some  sphere  of  their  own  ! 
Young  suns  seem'd  to  burn  on  the  rich  sapphire-walls, 

Where  the  wonders  of  God's  great  Creation  flash'd  bright — 
Within  the  small  space  of  the  azure-roof 'd  halls 

Countless  worlds,  contracted,  blazed  out  on  the  sight  ! 
A  miniature  universe,  awfully  grand, 

Shone  radiant  in  dreamy  magnificence  there ; 
As  if  the  Great  Architect's  world-making  hand 

Sketch'd  his  works,  in  one  picture,  and  hung  them  in  air  ! 
In  the  midst  stood  a  throne  so  resplendent,  that  all 

The  starbeams  of  heaven  seem'd  blended  in  one 
Brilliant  structure  of  glory,  and  set  in  the  hall, 

To  rival,  in  beauty  and  brightness,  the  sun  ! 
Joy  beam'd  in  the  mild  face  of  sweet  Eveleen, 

When  she  saw  white-wing'd  spirits  around  in  its  beams  ; 
Like  heavenly  things  in  her  infancy  seen, 

At  midnight,  when  angels  were  painting  her  dreams I 

"  She  mounted  the  throne  amid  wild  acclamation, 

And  sounding  of  "crotels"  and  pealing  of  bells, 
And  waving  of  garlands,  whose  floral  carnation 

Was  fresh  with  the  spring-drops  of  heaven's  pure  wells ! 
And  a  myriad  lamps  made  of  the  essence  of  light, 

O'er  her  lily-head  form'd  a  rainbow-hued  zone ; 
Like  a  diadem  of  white  stars  encircling  the  night, 

When  crimson-cheek 'd  eve  falls  asleep  on  its  throne 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND.  149 

The  floor  of  the  rich  hall  was  sanded  with  gold, 

And  its  canopy  beam'd,  like  the  new  crescent-moon, 
With  amber-hued  mists  round  her  yellow  face  roll'd, 

On  the  verge  of  the  planet-gemm'd  night-sky  of  June  ! 
And  I  saw  the  Ard  Fileas  of  puissant  King  Donn, 

With  their  minstrel-band,  in  rich  costume  of  green, 
Strike  their  bright-jewell'd  clarseachs  before  the  high  throne, 

Sweetly  singing,  *'  All  hail  to  Knockfeirin's  new  Queen  I " 
Of  all  the  wild  melody  ever  was  known 

To  pour  on  the  soul  of  a  mortal  its  spelL— 
Chaining  all  the  hot  fountains  of  life  in  its  tone- 
That  night,  on  my  ear  the  most  rapturous  fell ! 
I  have  oft  heard  those  harps  in  the  woods  of  Adare, 

When  sunset's  red  pencil  was  painting  the  sky, 
And  the  liquid  perfumes  of  the  rich  summer-air 

Seem'd  floating  in  song  on  the  gale's  honied  sigh  ! 
I've  heard  them  by  moonlight  in  leafy  Tirvoe, 

Breathing  their  notes  in  the  vernal  retreats 
Where  maiden-flowers  open  their  hearts  to  the  dew, 

And  give  in  return  a  tribute  of  sweets ! 
But  never,  0  Chieftain,  did  mortal  or  spirit 

Hear  such  music  as  greeted  thy  child,  Eveleen ! 
And  only  my  ear  was  accustomed  to  hear  it, 

I  never — oh !  never  would  hear  it  again  ! 
The  King  is  so  proud  of  his  beautiful  prize, 

That,  each  eve  when  the  Day  God's  red  glory  goes  down, 
And  the  last  aerial  rose-blush  departs  from  the  skies, 

He  takes  her  to  dance  on  the  mountain's  blue  crown  ! 
But  Mava,  the  partner  and  Queen  of  his  reign, 

Has  deserted  the  court,  with  wild  jealousy  fired, 
She  pass'd,  in  dark  mist,  from  the  hill  to  the  plain, 

And  to  steepy  Knoc  Greine,  in  a  wThirlwind,  retired  ! 
She  is  gone  on  a  mission  of  vengeance,  and  soon 

Knocfeirin  shall  witness  division  and  spleen, 
For  half  the  great  tribes  that  acknowledge  King  Donn, 

Will  rebel,  and  espouse  the  just  cause  of  his  Queen  ! 
And  the  Fays  of  Clan  Cuilen  are  biding  the  hour 

To  retrieve  their  lost  prestige  and  rescue  the  maid  ! 
One  stroke  is  sufficient  to  shatter  his  power, 

And  restore  thy  fair  child  to  thy  roof's  honour'd  shade  ! 
And  now  to  confirm  all  that  I  declare, 

Let  the  grave  be  reopened,  and  then  shall  be  seen 
Wither'd  fern  and  broom,  in  the  coffin  laid  there, 

Instead  of  the  corpse  of  the  fair  Eveleen  I" 


Like  one  agonized  in  some  terrible  dream, 
The  Lord  of  the  Rock  heard  the  wonderful  tale  ; 

Dark  clouds  on  his  angry  face  vanish'd  and  came, 
Like  storm-mist  passing  a  bleak  winter-vale, 


150  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND 

'Till  the  tempest  of  passion,  that  gathered  so  long, 

In  his  burning  heart,  burst  in  a  whirlwind  of  ire  ; 
Each  rising  vein  peer'd  thro'  his  neck,  like  a  thong, 

And  he  look'd  as  if  changed  to  a  demon  of  fire  :  . 
"  Eveleen  !  Eveleen  !"  in  wild  frenzy  he  roar'd, 

While  the  hissing  foam  burst  in  white  flakes  from  his  lip, 
And  hung  in  a  mass  on  his  brown,  wavy  beard, 

Like  spray  on  the  prow  of  a  wave-beaten  ship  ; 
"My  child!  my  white  Swan  !  oh  !  by  heaven — my  sword — 

I'll  go  to  Knocfeirin,  nor  demon  nor  Dane 
Shall  save  the  base  King,  'mid  his  wild  Fairy-horde, 

And  I'll  root  his  curst  hill  from  the  top  to  the  plain  ! 
My  daughter,  thou  darling  young  dove  of  my  heart  ! 

My  lily  of  brightness  !  my  glory  !  my  boast ! 
I'll  pursue  thee  and  find  thee,  wherever  thou  art, 

Tho'  a  thousand  brave  lives  in  thy  rescue  were  lost ! ' 

As  the  hurricane  clutches  a  weak  willow  wand, 

He  snatch'd  a  huge  gold-hilted  sword  from  the  wall 
And,  whirling  the  quick -flashing  steel  in  his  hand, 

He  leap'd,  with  a  shout,  to  the  door  of  the  hall ! 
The  stunn'd  menials  flew  in  amaze  and  alarm — 

The  matrons,  half-fainting,  knelt  sudden  to  pray — 
As  before  the  fierce  sweep  of  his  foot  and  his  arm, 

Each  thing  that  opposed  him  was  brushed  from  his  way  ; 
Mac  Curtin  rush'd  forward,  all  reckless  of  harm, 

In  the  path  of  his  master  his  person  he  flung, 
And  fixed  as  a  tree  clings  to  earth  in  a  storm, 

To  the  breast  of  the  wild-raging  chieftain  he  clung. 

"My  Lord!  my  Protector  !  thou  noblest  and  best 

Of  the  sons  of  Clan  Cuilen,  the  flower  of  our  Isle! 
Oh !  quench  this  hot  furnace  of  wrath  in  thy  breast, 

And  listen  to  wisdom  and  reason  awhile ! 
Bright  head  in  the  council,  strong  hand  in  the  field ! 

Flower  of  stainless  repute  in  the  garland  of  fame  ! 
No  boon  to  thy  Bard  thou  refuseth  to  yield, 

Since  a  child  to  thy  high,  honour 'd  mansion  I  came ! 
I've  lull'd  thee  to  slumber,  with  legend  and  lay, 

At  thy  side,  in  the  hall  and  the  camp,  was  my  place  ! 
Thy  chivalrous  deeds  were  my  theme,  night  and  day, 

'Till  the  Lords  of  Mononia  all  envied  thy  praise  ! 
Oh  !  hear  my  entreaty,  brave  heart  and  high  head  ! 

Be  the  brain-scorching  fire  of  thy  passion  resigned  ! ' 
Let  it  not  in  the  halls  of  a  Norman  be  said 

That  the  Lord  of  the  Rock  went  to  war  with  the  wind  ! 
If  thy  fair  Swan  of  whiteness  can  e'er  be  restored, 

Thy  rage  will  but  ruin  her  chance  of  release  ! 
'Twere  wilder  than  madness  to  lift  thy  vain  sword 

Against  the  strong,  bodiless  Spirits  of  space!" 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  151 

The  furious  Chief  heard,  and  stared  vacantly  round, 
And  his  dark  face  assumed  an  expression  more  mild ; 

He  dash'd  by  the  falchion,  and  sank  to  the  ground — 
The  lion  was  changed  to  a  weak,  sobbing  child. 

Tall  Horan  went  forth  to  the  heart  of  the  wood, 

And  pull'd  three  green  herbs,  in  the  Fairy  Queen's  name, 
And  a  smile  on  his  desolate  brow  boded  good, 

As  back  to  the  couch  of  O'Brien  he  came  ; 
In  his  thin,  bony  hands  the  soft  leaflets  he  bruised, 

'Till  their  drops  in  the  press  of  his  palms  became  warm ; 
In  the  Chief's  ears  and  eyes  the  sour  juice  he  infused, 

And  mutter'd,  in  silence,  some  spell-breaking  charm  ; 
Slowly  the  eyes  of  the  warrior  unclosed — 

To  a  sitting  position  he  'rose  on  the  bed, 
But  sunk  back  again,  in  deep  slumber  composed, 

Assuming  the  white-rigid  look  of  the  dead. 

"  Soon  the  hour  shall  arrive  !"  said  the  Master  of  Spells, 

"  When  the  dark  Powers  of  Air  from  their  thrones  shall  be 
shaken, 
Then  the  bride  shall  escape  from  the  King  of  the  hills, 

And  then — not  'till  then — shall  the  bridegroom  awaken ! 
Now  gather  bright  wreaths  to  adorn  his  pillow — 

Let  the  chamber  be  drest  in  the  dark  pomp  of  death ! 
Bring  the  scarlet  "  lusmore  "*  from  the  marge  of  the  billow — 

Bring  each  dew-spangled  bud  from  the  moorland  and  heath!" 

And  now  the  tenth  night  of  the  flowery-faced  May, 

Round  the  blue  hills  in  silent  sublimity  lay  ; 

And  star  wink'd  at  star  in  the  azure  abode, 

As  Earth  wept  in  dreams  at  the  feet  of  her  God. 

Heaven's  bosom  with  all  its  vast  jewell'ry  blazed, 

And  in  wrapt  adoration  the  mountains  seem'd  raised  ; 

In  breathless  delight  wind  and  water  stood  still, 

And  the  clouds,  in  white  ringlets,  lay  close  on  the  hill. 

The  spirit  of  silence  round  Carrig's  dark  walls 

Is  asleep,  for  no  harp  song  is  heard  in  the  halls, 

Tho'  the  chambers  are  lighted  as  brightly  as  when 

Clan  Cuilen's  high  chivalry  feasted  within. 

The  bolts  of  the  great  Castle-door  are  withdrawn, 

And  two  lofty  figures  stepp'd  out  on  the  lawn  ; 

One  is  tall  Horan,  the  wizard  of  power, 

And  one  is  MacCurtin  the  Bard  of  the  tower  ! 

Thro'  the  mist-cover'd  woods  their  dark  journey  they  take, 

Towards  the  wild,  gloomy  hill  of  the  cloud- curtain' d  peak, 

Knocfeirin  of  dark.  Fairy  legions  and  spells, 

Where  awful  King  Donn  in  his  Air-Palace  dwells ! 

*  "Lusmore,"  the  great  Fairy  herb. 


152  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

They  arrived  at  the  grove-belted  base  of  the  mount, 
Where  fresh  from  its  rocky  heart  danced  a  young  fount ; 
The  cean-a-bhans  dotted  its  banks,  with  their  snow, 
And  the  water-cress  drank  of  its  crystal  below  ; 
The  tall,  nodding  fox-glove  and  red-headed  broom, 
In  its  dreamy  wave  mirror'd  their  crownlets  of  bloom  ; 
And  the  wild  brier,  with  delicate  blossoms  all  white, 
Richly  sweeten'd  the  calm  spirit-breathings  of  night. 

In  the  vale  where  the  gray  Druids  worshipped  of  old — 

But  the  stones  of  their  altar  lay  mixed  with  the  mould, 

And  the  oaks  that  grew  round  it  were  blasted  and  gone, 

Tho'  their  roots  in  the  hoary  soil  still  lingered  on, 

There,  on  a  jagg'd  rock,  with  deep-yellow  moss  crown'd, 

Sat  the  raven-hair'd  Wizard  in  silence  profound ; 

And  he  look'd  to  the  north  where  the  dim  streamers  blazed, 

And  then  to  the  west's  starry  portals  he  gazed. 

The  horn  of  the  waning  moon,  dismal  and  dim, 

Through  the  gather' d  mist,  gleamed  on  the  horizon's  rim  ; 

Two  red  starry  gems  o'er  her  silver  head  burned, 

And  her  white,  weeping  face  from  the  earth  was  half -turned  ! 

The  pale  Wizard  watched  her  slow  march  in  the  sky, 

And  beckoned  the  wondering  Bard  to  come  nigh, 

As  thrice  to  the  zenith  he  pointed  his  hand, 

And  circled  the  spot,  with  his  spell-working  wand. 

"There  are  signs  in  the  heavens  of  coming  dismay — 

There  are  omens  on  earth  of  a  Spirit-affray  ! 

The  stars,  o'er  yon  mountain,  are  quench'd  one  by  one, 

And  the  genius  of  rest  from  the  waters  is  gone  ! 

In  the  north's  ambient  fields  the  pale  meteors  shoot  brighter, 

In  the  east's  lurid  sky  the  white  moon  waxes  whiter  ! 

The  south  holds  the  fire-fiend  asleep  in  its  breast, 

And  a  black-bosom'd  cloud-world  floats  in  the  west ! 

It  bodes  to  the  Air-King  affliction  and  sorrow, 

And  triumph  and  joy  to  thy  house,  Mac  Con  Mara !" 

As  the  Wizard  thus  spoke,  a  grim  raven  flew  round 

An  old  pine  that  tempests  half-cast  from  its  mound  ; 

Three  times  o'er  the  gray  Druid-circle  he  flew, 

And  then  to  the  shade  of  the  old  pine  withdrew  ; 

In  his  black  beak  he  carried  a  murderer's  bone, 

Bleached  fleshless  and  white  as  a  summer  brook-stone ; 

"  'Tis  the  bird  of  Queen  Mave !"  said  the  Wizard  upspringing, 

"  A  token  of  wrath  to  this  Fairy  hill  bringing ! 

And  in  that  dark  signal  I  read  and  can  see 

That  mischief  and  evil  shall  fall  upon  me  ! 

Now,  child  of  the  harp,  thou  wilt  see  in  the  skies, 

A  sight  that  shall  freeze  the  blue  wells  of  thine  eyes  ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND  153 

But  quail  not,  0  Bard !  thou  hast  nothing  to  fear, 
Nor  danger  nor  evil  can  come  to  thee  here  t 
Be  a  watchful  spectator  of  all  that  goes  on— 
The  veil  of  the  ghost-world  now  is  withdrawn!** 

They  look'd  towards  Knoc-Greine — a  red  cloud  was  there, 

Like  an  uplifted  slaughter-field  hanging  in  air  ; 

And  lurid-edged  lines  spread  their  fringes  on  high, 

Like  a  network  of  crimson  and  gold  in  the  sky  ; 

And  behind,  in  the  thick,  dingy  scud  of  the  south, 

The  engines  of  warfare  glared  fearfully  out 

Where  the  wings  of  a  mighty  host,  marshalled  for  fight, 

Through   the    haze-fields    of   heaven,  marched  swiftly  and 

bright, 
The  shrill  clang  of  steel  to  fierce  music  was  ringing, 
As  if  the  big  thunder  a  war-song  was  singing  ; 
While  the  vanishing  stars  seemed  to  run  from  their  place, 
And  hide  farther  up  in  the  temples  of  space ! 

O'er  the  hills  of  green  Thomond  dark  shapes  'rose  and  grew, 

Like  air-cities  sketched  on  a  ground-work  of  blue ; 

With  mist-spectres  set  on  their  vapoury  walls, 

Floating  on,  towards  Knocfeirin,  thro'  heaven's  veiled  halls. 

Sudden  the  fire-flashing  terrors  they  nurst, 

Like  a  volcanic  blaze,  from  their  cloud-castles  burst — 

A  moment  the  firmament  broke  into  light, 

As  if  day  had  leaped  into  the  dark  lap  of  night. 


The  dawn's  yellow  glory  was  bursting  on  Ara, 
And  gilding  the  highlands  of  wild  Glenomara ; 
And  gemming  the  bosom  of  Shannon's  great  river, 
That  in  music  and  majesty  rushes  for  ever  : 
On  Cratloe's  bleak  hills  the  blue  night-shadow  hover'd — 
And  their  green  zones  of  wood  with  its  darkness  were  cover'd- 
From  Coonagh's  broad  marshes  the  winding  mists  flew, 
And  shook  in  the  cool  air  their  ringlets  of  dew  ; 
Each  star,  by  degrees,  shut  its  cold,  sleepy  eye, 
As  the  purple-winged  daylight  stole  into  the  sky  ; 
A  soft,  dusky  radiance  o'er  Nature  was  gleaming, 
Like  the  first-born  light  on  the  new  world  beaming 
When  the  Lord  fused  the  power  of  his  word  into  one 
Radiant  sphere  of  effulgence,  and  call'd  it  the  Sun ! 
From  gloomy  Camailte  the  eagle  was  winging, 
Thro'  amber-fringed  curtains  of  ether  upspringing, 
And  scattering  the  haze,  in  the  pride  of  his  flight, 
Where  the  thunder-fiend  groan'd  on  a  cloud-couch  all  night. 
Sweet  honeydew  breathings  pervaded  the  air, 
From  bowery  Tirvoe  to  romantic  Adare ; 
And  night,  with  its  phantoms,  and  shadows,  and  dreams, 
Made  a  lazy  retreat  from  day's  gold-shafted  beams. 
11 


154  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Who  moves,  like  a  dew-mist,  on  Carrig's  gray  lawn, 

And  glides  thro'  the  deep,  silvery  shade  of  the  towers  ? 
Like  a  spirit  of  dreams,  'mid  the  silence  of  dawn, 

Floating  over  the  green-pillow'd  sleep  of  the  flowers  ! 
'Tis  the  Swan  of  Clan  Cuilen— the  snow- handed  bride 

Of  the  chieftain  of  Ara,  the  lofty  and  grand  ; 
In  her  wild,  queenly  brightness  of  beauty  and  pride, 

She  returns,  like  a  moonbeam,  from  gay  Fairyland. 
And  her  eye  hath  a  clearer  and  lovelier  light, 

And  her  cheek  hath  a  fresher  and  livelier  red  ; 
And  her  locks  seem,  as  if  the  dark  shadows  of  night 

Were  spun  into  substance  and  placed  on  her  head. 
She  gazes  around,  in  the  wildest  surprise, 

And  speaks  to  her  soul,  in  soliloquy  deep, 
Like  one  that  hath  open'd  her  wondering  eyes 

From  the  spell  of  some  vision  that  charm'd  her  sleep. 
"  Where  art  thou,  my  lord,  and  where  art  thou,  my  sire  ? 

Oh  !  why  have  you  fled  from  your  Eveleen's  side  ? 
And  where  are  the  guests,  and  the  banquet,  and  lyre, 

That  lately  rejoiced  in  the  home  of  the  bride? 
A  vision  came  o'er  me,  enchantingly  sweet — 

I  dreamt  I  was  queen  of  a  kingdom  unknown, 
Where  the  homage  of  millions  was  paid  at  my  feet, 

But  here  I've  'wakened,  deserted  and  lone  ! 
'Twas  a  halo  of  magic — an  essence  of  joy — 

That  sunn'd,  for  a  moment,  my  soul  with  its  light ! 
'Twas  the  summer-lit  glory  of  sleep's  phantom  sky 

Showing  bright  angel-pictures  of  bliss  to  my  sight !  " 

With  a  step,  like  the  May  breeze,  she  flew  to  the  hall, 

And  enter'd  a  chamber,  with  flowery  wreaths  spread  ; 
There,  wrapt  in  the  shade  of  a  sable-fringed  pall, 

The  proud  Lord  of  Ara  lay  seemingly  dead. 
A  chill  dimness  swam  o'er  her  eye's  azure  beam, 

And  darken'd  the  high  marble  arch  of  her  brow ; 
She  stood — as  if  life  had  suspended  its  stream — 

Cold,  silent  and  white  as  a  statue  of  snow. 
Then,  with  sudden  emotion,  she  stoop'd  o'er  the  pall, 

And  her  locks  flung  their  shadowy  rings  on  the  shroud  ; 
Like  the  half-darkened  beams  of  the  moon  when  they  fall 

On  the  soft,  shining  folds  of  a  white  winter-cloud — 
Her  chain'd  spirit  broke  from  its  freezing  eclipse, 

And  her  eyes  gleam'd,  like  stars  on  a  dark  night  of  rain— 
Her  soul  in  wild  melody  rush'd  to  her  lips, 

And  melted  away  in  a  beautiful  caoine. 

Her  Death-Song. 
' '  Shall  the  cold,  dreary  tomb 

Be  the  place  of  thy  bridal  ? 
Did  death  steal  the  bloom 

From  the  cheek  of  my  Idol  ? 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  155 

Have  I  dreamt  but  of  joy, 

And  awaken'd  to  sorrow  ? 
Did  the  fountain  run  dry, 

That  gave  beauty  to  Axa  ? 

My  heaven  is  shaded — 

My  spring-flowers  are  blasted  ! 
My  summer  is  faded 

Ere  its  May  sweets  were  tasted ! 
The  Flower  of  thy  hall, 

And  thy  stem,  Mac  Con  Mara, 
Shall  wither  and  fall 

With  the  King-Tree  of  Ara  ! 

Has  the  Norman  drank  deep 

At  the  life  of  our  Nation  ? 
Since  there's  none  here  to  weep 

For  my  comely  Dalcassian  I 
Oh !  the  black  frost  of  grief 

Has  pierced  into  my  marrow, 
O'er  the  corpse  of  the  chief 

That  gave  glory  to  Ara  ! 

How  bright  was  the  wave 

Of  thy  sunny  locks  round  thee, 
When  the  eyes  of  the  brave, 

In  the  battle-van  found  thee  ! 
And  quick  was  thy  spear, 

'Mid  the  combat's  wild  farrah, 
As  the  eagle's  career 

When  he  sweeps  over  Ara  ! 

Oh !  thy  white  foot  was  swift, 

As  the  North- wind  bestriding 
The  gloomy  hill-drift 

Where  the  cloud-ghosts  are  gliding ! 
And  no  chief  in  the  land, 

From  green  Thomond  to  Tara,  • 
Could  measure  his  brand 

With  my  eagle  of  Ara  ! 

Thy  love-looks  I  felt 

In  the  veins  of  my  bosom ! 
Like  the  spring-dews  that  melt 

In  the  heart  of  the  blossom  ! 
I  slighted,  for  thee, 

The  high  prince  of  Clan  Carrha  ! 
And  you,  Love !  for  me, 

The  whit©  queen  of  Glenara! 


156  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Mighty  pillar  of  swords — 

Falcon-eyed !  regal-hearted  ! 
Gentle  mouth  of  sweet  words — 

Has  thy  music  departed  ? 
The  woods  shall  grow  bright 

In  the  gold  of  the  morrow, 
But  the  sun  hath  no  light 

For  my  Idol  of  Ara ! 

Oh  !  brightness  and  joy 

Of  my  spirit,  awaken  ! 
Why  did'st  thou  die,  Love ! 

And  leave  me  forsaken  ? 
I'll  go  to  the  gloom 

Of  thy  bed  deep  and  narrow  ! 
Let  ours  be  one  tomb, 

In  Clan  Cuilen  or  Ara  ! 

I'm  left,  like  a  ship 

In  a  desolate  haven, 
To  murmur  and  weep 

For  my  glory  bereaven  ! 
No  kind  ray  to  cross 

The  bleak  waste  of  my  sorrow, 
Or  lighten  the  loss 

Of  my  sunbeam  of  Ara  ! 

Come,  clouds  of  the  sky 

With  your  downy-wing'd  whiteness  ! 
Come,  sun-rays  that  lie 

In  yon  mansion  of  brightness  ! 
Come  breezes  that  play 

In  the  vales  green  and  narrow  ! 
Bear  my  spirit  away 

To  my  loved  one  of  Ara  !" 

The  weird  harp-like  tone  of  her  wild  requiem  broke 

The  spell  of  his  trance,  and  the  sleeper  awoke  ; 

To  his  lips,  eyes,  and  cheeks,  life's  meridian  returned, 

And  his  blood,  like  loosed  streams,  thro'  its  hot  channels 

burn'd. 
Brighter  and  brighter  his  countenance  grows, 
Lighter  and  lighter  his  breath  comes  and  goes ; 
Nearer  and  nearer  his  reason  floats  back, 
Clearer  and  clearer  it  shines  on  its  track — 
Life  shoots  through  his  frame — like  a  working  machine, 
When  all  its  strong  parts  in  full  action  are  seen — 
And  the  mind,  to  her  functions  upspringing  within, 
Arranged  her  bright  web  of  ideas  again. 
With  uplifted  hands,  Eveleen  felt  amazed, 
Starting  back  from  the  couch,  in  dumb  wonder  she  gazed, 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  1§7 

While  the  haughty  chief  looked  on  the  pall  and  the  shroud, 
And  sprung  from  his  coverings,  and  muttered  aloud, 
'  *  What  means  this  false  show,  that  around  me  appears, 
As  if  death  has  been  mocked,  and  my  lady  in  tears  ? 
By  the  Spirit  of  Heber  !  I'll  wreck  my  hot  ire, 
On  the  author  of  this,  if  it  were  thy  proud  sire  ! 
A  prank  has  been  played,  and  by  heavens,  he'll  see 
That  he  knew  not  his  man  when  he  practised  on  me ! 
Believe  it,  his  humour  may  have  a  red  end, 
If  such  be  the  honours  he  pays  to  a  friend !  " 

But  now  the  great  hall  of  the  tower  was  alive, 

With  the  echoes  of  life,  like  the  hum  of  a  hive  ; 

The  inmates  half  dressed,  in  wild  haste  and  dismay, 

Repaired  to  the  room  where  the  mimic  corpse  lay. 

The  Lord  of  the  Rock  was  the  first  to  rush  in, 

And  clasp  to  his  bosom  the  bright  Eveleen, 

Delirious  with  transport,  he  vented  a  cry, 

As  he  kissed  her,  all  trembling  with  passionate  joy. 

Such  a  wild  scene  of  giddy  excitement  appeared — 

Such  loud  exclamations  of  rapture  were  heard — 

The  proud  Lord  of  Ara,  bewildered,  looked  on, 

And  thought  that  the  thread  of  their  reason  was  gone. 

Pale-faced  Eveleen,  as  if  solving  a  doubt, 

Gazed  around  on  the  scene,  with  her  heart  in  her  mouth, 

And  she  drew  her  white  fingers,  in  speechless  surprise, 

O'er  her  brow,  as  if  clearing  a  spell  from  her  eyes  ! 

O'Brien  glanced  thrice  o'er  the  group  and  the  pall, 

And  rushed,  with  an  oath,  from  the  room  to  the  hall ; 

"By  the  blood  of  Clontarf,  they  have  broken  away 

From  all  reason,  and  I  am  the  fool  of  the  play  ! 

Good  heavens  !  what  jests  upon  honour  they  keep, 

To  make  a  buffoon  of  a  prince  in  his  sleep  ! 

Ho  !  bring  me  my  chariot — I'll  off  to  my  court, 

And  never  revisit  this  bedlam  of  sport !  " 

Mac  Con  Mara  flew  after  the  chief  to  the  gate, 

And  drew  him  aside  to  a  shady  retreat — 

Unravelled  each  thread  of  the  story's  dark  clue, 

And  the  chiefs,  reconciled,  to  the  Castle  withdrew ; 

He  called  on  the  swiftest  and  best  of  his  clan, 

And  issued  an  order  to  every  man, 

"Fly  quick  to  green  Thomond,  o'er  valley  and  dale 

Ere  the  sunbeams  have  melted  the  silver  of  morn  ! 
Go  to  the  proud  ladies  and  lords  of  Clan  Tail, 

And  tell  them  the  news  of  my  daughter's  return  !" 
They  obey'd,  and  before  the  red  evening  withdrew 
Its  drapery  of  gold  from  the  woods  of  Tirvoe, 
The  high  halls  of  Carrig  resounded  aloud, 
With  the  voices  and  steps  of  the  mighty  and  proud. 
Care  fled  from  the  Castle — joy  swam  in  the  bowl — 


158  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  TH6M0ND. 

Like  a  May-morning  song  was  the  mirth  of  each  soul ; 
The  harp,  so  long  silent,  now  flung  from  its  strings 
The  glories  of  Erin's  high  Chieftains  and  Kings ! 
The  wine- wasting  revelry  lasted  five  days, 
And  five  nights  the  tall  ramparts  all  seem'd  in  a  blaze ; 
The  gates  were  thrown  open — full  tables  for  all, 
Strangers  and  strollers,  were  placed  in  the  hall — 
Such  roasting  of  sirloins — such  slaughtering  of  kine — 
Such  breaking  of  bread  and  such  drinking  of  wine — 
Was  never  yet  seen  since  the  days  when  King  Brian 
Feasted  all  the  descendants*  of  great  Heber  Fionn. 

And  now  the  fifth  sun  on  the  golden  hills  burn'd, 

Since  sweet  Eveleen  from  Knocfeirin  return'd — 

On  the  lawn  of  the  Castle  the  chieftains  appear, 

Prepared  for  the  chase  of  the  wolf  and  the  deer  ; 

Spear,  cutlass,  and  dagger,  and  wild  hunting  horn, 

Skein,  arrow  and  bow,  from  the  fortress  are  borne  ; 

Deerhound  and  wolfdog  bound,  snuffing  the  gale, 

And  the  slender-limb'd  steeds  prance  with  joy  in  the  vale. 

The  ladies  are  there,  in  their  hunting  array, 

To  follow  their  lords  in  the  sport  of  the  day  ; 

Each  high-born  dame  her  white  palfrey  rein'd — 

But  the  gentle-soul' d  bride  at  the  Castle  remain'd  ; 

She  thought  of  the  sick  and  the  coldly-lodged  poor, 

As  she  stood,  like  an  angel  of  love,  at  the  door, 

And  kiss'd  her  small  hand  to  betoken  farewell 

To  the  gay-laughing  group  as  they  rode  down  the  hill. 

Then  she  call'd  her  attendants,  in  number  a  score, 

And  exhausted  the  treasured-up  wealth  of  her  store, 

And  order'd  each  servant  a  portion  to  take 

To  the  orphan,  the  widow,  the  sick  and  the  weak — 

Wheaten  flour,  cleanly  sifted,  sweet  flavoured  and  fine, 

Gold,  silver,  and  garments,  beef,  mutton,  and  wine  ; 

On  three  ample  cars  the  rich  presents  were  laid, 

And  safe  to  the  homes  of  the  lowly  conveyed. 

Oh  !  what  a  sweet  radiance  of  happiness  play'd 

In  the  bright  seraph-face  of  the  kind-hearted  maid, 

As  she  tripp'd  to  her  bridal-room,  warbling  a  song, 

And  plied  her  light  work,  all  the  summer  day  long. 

'Tis  eve,  and  the  deep-yellow  breast  of  the  glade, 

Is  barr'd  with  the  splendour  of  sunshine  and  shade  ; 

And  the  calm,  hazy  gold  of  the  verdure  slid  on, 

As  the  shadow  stole  into  the  place  of  the  sun. 

The  chase-wearied  lords  from  the  wild-woods  arrive — 

Up  the  steep  plain  of  Carrig,  like  whirlwinds,  they  drive, 

*  At  the  coronation  feast  of  Brian  Boru,  two  thousand  of  the  nobility  of 
Munster  sat  to  dine  in  the  great  banquet-hall  of  th,e  Palace  of  Kinkora  »— 
Tradition. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  159 

All  reckless  they  gallop  o'er  brushwood  and  stone, 

As  if  striving  to  break  their  steeds'  necks  or  their  own ; 

The  ladies  rein'd  up  and  fell  back  to  the  rere, 

And  their  light,  silvery  laugh  made  love  to  the  air  ; 

When  they  saw  the  gay  heiress  of  rich  Corofin, 

Whip  her  steed  up  the  rough  steep,  outstripping  the  men. 

On  the  lawn  they  dismount,  and  well  pleased,  turn  round, 

To  assist  the  fair  dames  to  alight  on  the  ground — 

To  partake  of  the  banquet  they  hurry  away, 

Discussing  the  sportive  events  of  the  day. 

When  the  gray  twilight  ushered  the  night's  starry  fall, 

A  hundred  lights  flamed  in  the  great  Castle  hall, 

And  the  echoes  of  mirth  and  wild  music  peal'd  out 

On  the  sweet,  summer  night-airs  slow  roving  about. 

Round  the  boards,  richly  laden,  the  guests  took  their  place, 

With  the  spirit  of  pleasure  enthroned  on  each  face ; 

Robes  sparkled,  with  gems,  like  rich  star-gilded  skies, 

And  eyes  telegraphed  the  soul's  language  to  eyes. 

In  a  chair  of  bright  silver  sat  fair  Eveleen, 

Her  proud,  lordly  sire  and  her  husband  between ; 

And  Mac  Curtin  sat  near,  by  the  side  of  his  lord, 

Quaffing  deep  of  the  wine-flood  that  foamed  on  the  board  ! 

"  Come,  Bard  of  my  house  !"*  said  the  chief  of  the  feast, 

"  Strike  thy  clarseach,  and  fling  us  a  song  from  its  wire  ! 

Let  it  be  the  Eoss  Catha^  and  play  it  with  haste, 

'Till  our  souls,  like  dry  wood,  catch  the  blaze  of  its  fire  ! 

Or  rather  relate  how  my  white-bosomed  Swan 

Was  rescued  and  saved  from  the  dark  Fairy  throng  ! 
Come,  weave  the  wild  story — a  wonderful  one — 

And  spangle  its  web  with  the  flowers  of  thy  song  !" 
The  Bard  paused,  awhile,  o'er  his  instrument  grand, 

Like  a  spirit  of  melody  born  of  its  frame, 
And  his  kindling  eye  gleamed,  like  the  point  of  a  brand, 

As  he  touched  the  bright  cords  with  the  fire  of  his  theme. 
First  came  a  sweet  prelude,  then  note  after  note, 

In  melting  vibration,  harmoniously  rung, 
'Till  the  harp  and  his  voice  through  the  hall  seem'd  to  float, 

In  a  double-toned  strain,  as  the  gifted  one  sung ; 

*  There  were  many  of  the  Mac  Curtins,  Bards  of  Clare,  and  attached  to 
the  MacNamaras,  O'Briens,  and  other  distinguished  families  in  Thomond. 
The  Mac  Donnells  of  Kilkee  and  Killone  were  also  very  conspicuous  in  patron- 
izing those  native  Sons  of  Song. 

t  Pronounced  Ross  Caha,  i.  e.,  "  Eye  of  Battle,"  an  inspiring  martial 
tune  played  by  the  minstrels  of  ancient  Erin. 


160  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


Mac  Curtirfs  description  of  the  Fairy  Battle  fought  at 
Knocfeirin,  for  Eveleen. 

I  stood  on  a  mound  by  a  stream's  wild  sound — 

Knocfeirin  'rose  darkly  before  me  ! 
And  the  lightning's  blaze  fired  the  dingy  haze 

That  shadowed  the  star-fields  o'er  me  ! 
And  I  saw,  'mid  the  shrouds  of  the  torn  clouds, 

War-phantoms  tremendously  riding 
In  burning  cars,  like  meteor-stars 

O'er  the  wreck  of  a  universe  gliding ! 

And  their  steeds  flash'd  on,  as  if  every  one 

In  harness  of  fire  was  tighten'd, 
And  their  flaming  might,  like  a  river  of  light, 

The  hall  of  the  angels  brighten'd  ; 
For  their  panoply  shone,  like  fire-sheets  thrown 

From  the  throat  of  a  plague-cloud  horrid  ; 
And  each  awful  plume  seem'd  to  shake  the  gloom 

Of  the  grave  on  the  wearer's  forehead ! 

The  gleaming  forms,  in  countless  swarms, 

Were  iflingling  hither  and  thither, 
As  if  to  6n%  place  in  the  bosom  of  space 

All  the  planets  were  rushing  together  ; 
And  a  deadly  noise  fill'd  the  moaning  skies, 

Like  a  battle-field's  dread  commotion, 
Or  the  angry  roar  of  a  thunder-shower, 

When  it  leaps  on  the  dancing  ocean  ! 

The  moon  look'd  back  on  the  gathering  wreck, 

And  swoon'd  on  a  vapoury  pillow — 
Like  the  sea-bird  white,  when  with  sudden  fright, 

It  dives  in  the  tumbling  billow — 
For  she  wrapt  her  head  in  a  floating  shade, 

And  threw  off  the  star-zone  that  bound  her, 
And  quench'd  in  the  damp  her  dusky  lamp, 

Leaving  heaven  in  darkness  'round  her  ! 

A  yellow  cloud  fell  near  the  haunted  hill, 

The  grove  with  its  dim  haze  lining, 
As  if  some  Sprite,  in  his  hasty  flight, 

Dropp'd  his  robe  on  their  green  tops  shining  ! 
And  from  the  fold  of  its  swimming  gold, 

Queen  Mave,  in  her  glory  appearing, 
Stood  forth  and  gazed  where  the  fire-flags  blazed 

On  the  crown  of  the  dark  Knocfeirin ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  161 

Her  garment  glow'd,  like  a  sun-barr'd  cloud 

On  the  young  blush  of  morning  tender, 
When  the  snow- spirit  spreads  on  the  hills'  white  heads, 

The  wings  of  his  wintry  splendour ! 
And  her  eye,  like  a  well  in  a  haunted  dell, 

Flash'd  with  a  brightness  all-seeing, 
And  eternity's  dreams  were  alive  in  its  beams 

Reflecting  her  grandeur  of  being  ! 

The  future  and  past  on  her  brow  were  cast 

In  a  halo  of  meditation, 
Like  an  angel's  thought  embodied  and  wrought 

Into  beautiful  contemplation, 
For  her  dim  face  seem'd  as  if  she  dream'd 

Of  some  earthly,  perishing  grandeur, 
As  she  paused,  like  a  ray  that  had  gone  astray 

From  some  heavenly  world  beyond  her  ! 

The  Wizard  stepped  out  in  the  vale's  green  mouth, 

And  fell  on  the  plain  to  adore  her ; 
And  he  pray'd  a  prayer,  on  the  cold  sward  there, 

In  prostrate  homage  before  her  : 
"  Resplendent  Flower  of  ethereal  power ! 

In  beauty  and  glory  excelling 
The  sun-star's  sheen  on  the  blazing  plain 

Of  the  Maker's  infinite  dwelling ! 

"Attend  my  prayer,  bright  daughter  of  Air ! 

Be  thy  queenly  resentment  disarm'd  ! 
And  return  again  the  fair  Eveleen, 

To  the  house  of  her  father  unharm'd  ! 
Let  not  the  gall  of  thine  anger  fall 

On  a  blossom  so  lovely  and  tender ! 
Oh !  do  not  harm  one  radiant  charm, 

But  graciously  deign  to  defend  her !  " 

She  raised  her  hand,  with  a  gesture  grand, 

And  flung  back  her  tresses  bright'ning 
The  silvery  glow  of  her  neck's  smooth  snow — 

Like  a  stream  of  autumnal  lightning ! 
While  her  twilight-face  a  shadowy  trace 

Of  benevolent  thought  discloses, 
As  when  Spring  appears,  shedding  night-fall  tears, 

O'er  the  couch  of  her  early  roses ! 

She  shot  thro'  the  night,  and  the  woods  grew  bright 
Where  she  pass'd  o'er  their  dancing  bowers, 

Like  a  spirit  of  day,  on  a  showery  ray, 
Bringing  light  to  the  dreaming  flowers. 


162  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  the  plain  of  shade  where  the  Wizard  pray'd, 
For  a  moment,  grew  radiant  and  sunny ; 

And  the  mist  that  lay  on  the  grove-tops  gray, 
Dissolved  in  a  dew-fall  of  honey  ! 

Then  the  cloudy  vest  of  the  hill's  huge  breast 

Was  suddenly  dash'd  asunder, 
Wide  opening  a  gap  in  its  sable  lap 

For  the  birth  of  the  coming  thunder  ; 
And  I  saw  King  Donn,  like  a  darken'd  sun, 

His  army  of  terrors  preparing 
To  hold  his  own,  and  defend  his  throne, 

On  the  summit  of  wild  Knocf eirin ! 

And  above,  as  far  as  the  farthest  star, 

The  hosts  of  his  foes  were  gather'd — 
Thick  as  the  snow  when  the  woods  below 

With  its  fallen  flakes  are  feather' d — 
And  down  they  came  in  a  column  of  flame, 

And  the  back  of  a  hurricane  bore  it, 
As  if  heaven's  blue  floor,  with  a  mighty  roar, 

Fell  and  drove  them  to  earth  before  it ! 

The  horsemen  swept  in  the  van,  and  leapt 

O'er  the  couch  of  the  raving  thunder ; 
And  the  lightning  fled  from  its  flaming  bed, 

In  a  dance  thro'  the  dark  woods  under ! 
While  the  slogan-note  of  its  parent's  throat, 

Shook  heaven  and  made  earth  rattle  ; 
And  its  fiery  flags  split  the  bursting  crags, 

In  the  sweep  of  their  burning  battle ! 

Then  I  saw  in  fierce  fight,  'mid  the  winged  light, 

The  terrible  Spirit-hosts  toiling, 
And  the  clash,  and  the  clang  of  their  onset  rang, 

Like  a  sea  o'er  an  earthquake  boiling ! 
Sound  struck  sound  thro'  the  sky  around, 

And  the  sky  to  the  earth  seem'd  to  rain  them, 
For  their  echoes  fell,  with  an  angry  yell, 

As  if  space  had  no  room  to  contain  them. 

The  heath  was  burned,  and  the  groves  o'erturned, 

Where  the  flame-shod  steeds  were  dashing, 
And  each  chariot  swung,  like  a  meteor  hung 

On  wings,  o'er  the  black  waste  flashing, 
For  each  bright  wheel  spun,  like  a  flying  sun 

Thro'  an  abyss  of  shadows  diving, 
While  the  vanquish'd  wind  paused,  and  cough'd  behind, 

Outstripp'd  by  their  headlong  driving! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  163 

Long  fire-snakes  broke  thro*  the  night's  black  cloak, 

The  sky  with  their  forked  tails  splitting, 
And  hissing  about,  with  their  red  tongues  out, 

Blue  lights  thro'  the  dark  air  spitting  ; 
While  the  clouds  seem'd  to  throw  on  the  war  below, 

New  wrath  in  a  lightning-vomit, 
As  if  the  tall  pines  from  the  hill's  ravines, 

Leap'd  on  fire  to  its  blazing  summit ! 

The  dread  light  died  and  the  gloom  spread  wide, 

As  if  night  had  a  tenfold  mission — 
Then  a  sound  tore  the  air,  as  if  volcanoes  there 

Met  and  smash' d  in  tremendous  collision — 
And  rolling  down  from  the  hill's  black  crown, 

The  powers  of  King  Donn  were  routed, 
While  the  thunder  beat  a  loud  retreat, 

And  the  charging  hurricane  shouted  ! 

Have  you  seen  the  lake  when  its  white  waves  break 

On  its  margin  of  rocks  resounding, 
When  they  run  to  hide,  on  the  bleak  shore-side, 

From  the  wrath  of  the  night-squall  bounding  ? 
Thus  thro'  the  cloud-spray  of  the  aerial  sea, 

Whole  armies  were  driven,  and  riven, 
Like  forests  hurl'd  from  a  ruin'd  world, 

Rent,  scattered  and  toss'd  thro'  heaven ! 

The  Wizard  look'd  up  to  the  dark  hill's  top 

Where  the  gloom  of  the  war  was  clearing, 
But  a  hell-hued  cloud  from  its  summit  bow'd, 

Like  a  dungeon  in  air  appearing, 
And  down  it  swung,  like  a  garment  flung 

From  the  back  of  a  demon,  o'er  him, 
And  off,  with  the  speed  of  a  desert  steed, 

Thro'  the  fields  of  the  tempest  bore  him ! 

The  whirlwind  cheer'd,  as  he  disappear'd 

Where  a  chaos  of  cloud-hills  tumbled, 
Like  the  torn  robe  of  a  phantom-globe 

In  stormy  fragments  jumbled, 
And  a  meteor  sped,  with  its  beam  dark-red, 

Before  him  thro'  night's  arch  leaping, 
Like  a  speck  of  blood  on  a  sable  flood 

To  a  fathomless  whirlpool  sweeping  ! 

There's  a  dismal  calm,  and  the  white  mists  swam, 

Like  foam  on  the  star- vault  painted  ; 
And  the  storm  expired,  as  if  Nature,  tired 

From  her  awful  convulsions,  fainted  ; 


164  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  the  last  deep  growl  of  the  thunder's  roll, 
With  a  drowsy  echo,  resounded, 

As  it  sunk  to  rest  in  the  sky's  dark  breast, 
With  its  curtain  of  clouds  around  it  ! 

I  look'd  on  the  hill  where,  solemn  and  still, 

Deep  dreamy  shadows  were  blended  ; 
While  a  victor-throng,  with  a  heavenly  song, 

Thro'  the  slumbering  haze  descended, 
And  away  thro'  the  air,  in  grand  career, 

Towards  Carrig's*  high  Castle  they  wended, 
With  fair  Eveleen,  like  an  angel  seen, 

In  the  midst  of  their  circles  splendid  !  U 


THE  WAIL  OF  ERIN  FOR  THE  DEATH  OF 
W.  S.  O'BRIEN. 

The  yellow-zoned  morning  was  chasing  night's  gloom — 
Like  our  glory-crown'd  God,  when  he  rose  from  the  tomb — 
And  the  mountains  of  Erin  put  gorgeously  on 
Their  helmets  the  gems  of  the  new -risen  sun  ; 
But  a  shadow  roll'd  up  on  the  eyelids  of  day, 
And  melted  to  tears  in  the  gold  of  their  ray ; 
For  the  soul-wringing  wail  of  a  nation's  wild  grief 
Had  burst  o'er  the  land  for  her  lately  lost  Chief. 

Where  the  towers  of  Kinkora  'rose  proudly  of  old — 

With  their  royal  halls  blazing  with  falchions  of  gold — 

A  bright  Spirit-essence  descended  in  tears, 

And  appear'd  half  in  gloom — as  the  day-dawn  appears — 

She  stood  on  the  shadowy  Rath  of  the  Kings, 

With  a  harp  in  her  hand,  bearing  rust  on  its  strings, 

And  her  eye,  like  a  rain-star,  was  weeping  in  fire, 

As  her  wild  dirge  'rose  blent  with  the  sound  of  the  wire. 

*  Carrigogunnell  was  purchased  by  Donogh  O'Brien,  Prince  of  Thomond, 
a.d.  1214,  from  King  John,  for  the  sum  of  60  marks ;  its  original  pro- 
prietors were  the  O'Kearwicks,  who  were  its  real  founders.  Its  name 
signifies  the  "  Rock  of  the  Candle,"  on  account  of  a  demon-light  which 
appeared  there  every  night,  immediately  after  sunset,  in  the  old  pagan 
times.  Tradition  says  that  this  light  proved  fatal  to  the  person  or  persons 
who  looked  directly  at  it,  for  they  did  not  survive  to  see  the  returning  day. 
"When  St.  Patrick  came  on  his  Christian  mission  into  the  district,  he  was 
told  all  about  this  awful  light  and  its  deadly  influence.  He,  having 
remained  until  he  saw  it,  repaired  directly  to  the  rock,  and  after  praying, 
challenged  the  Demon  to  appear  before  him.  The  Evil  One  did  appear,  and 
began  a  stubborn  discussion  with  the  saint,  who  finally  banished  him  from 
the  rock,  where  the  death-light  was  never  more  seen.  Carrigogunnell  was 
reckoned  to  be  one  of  the  strongest  fortresses  in  Munster,  and  many  a 
fierce  assault  did  it  withstand  during  centuries  of  invasion  and  violence, 
until  it  was  entirely  dismantled  and  blown  up  by  an  immense  quantity  of 
gunpowder,  in  1692, 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  165 

"  Oh  !  the  last  of  my  Dalcassian  Eagles  is  gone, 
My  regal-soul'd,  high-minded,  bright-hearted  one ! 
Another  black  grief-drop  is  flung  in  my  bowl, 
And  another  affliction-sword  plunged  in  my  soul  ! 
I  look  thro'  the  death-cloud  that  darkens  my  land, 
I  gaze  on  the  book  of  my  fate  in  God's  hand, 
But  no  name,  in  the  future  or  past,  can  I  see 
More  dear  to  my  people — more  faithful  to  me ! 

"  Oh !  thy  spirit  was  pure  as  the  dew  on  the  bough, 
And  no  base  foreign  tinsel  e'er  shone  on  thy  brow  ! 
And  the  star  of  thy  princely  race — long  in  the  wane — 
In  thee  seem'd  to  blaze  with  new  brightness  again  ; 
Thy  proud  eyes  were  turned  towards  my  dim  horizon, 
Where  my  glory  had  left  but  a  spark  of  its  sun  ; 
And  thy  brave  hand  was  lifted  to  bring  back  its  ray, 
And  change  the  night- cloud  of  my  tears  into  day  ! 

"  And  thine  was  a  mind,  as  an  orient  sky  bright, 

Where  each  thought,  like  a  sunrise,  was  bursting  in  light ; 

And  thy  high  Celtic  soul,  like  a  golden  harp  strung, 

In  a  flame-gush  of  eloquence  burn'd  on  thy  tongue  ! 

Thy  heart  was  a  chalice  of  jewels  that  blaz'd 

On  every  high  altar  to  freedom's  cause  raised ; 

And  thy  hand — like  a  harvest  by  genial  suns  blest, — 

Was  full  of  rich  gifts  for  the  poor  and  oppress'd  ! 

"  Last  Prince  of  green  Thomond — my  heaven-gifted  child  ! 
For  me  thou  wert  slander' d,  mock'd,  tortured,  exiled  ! 
Tho'  thy  high  spirit  felt,  yet  it  dashed  off  the  sting, 
As  the  proud  eagle  shakes  the  cold  rain  from  his  wing — 
Envious  clouds  may  arise  on  the  Day -god's  red  beam, 
But  nothing  can  quench  the  bright  fount  of  his  flame  ; 
So  the  rays  of  thy  soul  shone  resplendent  above 
The  malice  of  foes — in  its  glory  and  love  ! 

4 'The  patriot  unbending — the  statesman  so  shrewd — 
The  hero  disarm'd,  but  never  subdued — 
The  philanthropist  noble — the  orator  prime — 
The  scholar  exalted — the  poet  sublime — 
The  husband  devoted — the  father  sincere — 
The  lover  of  justice — the  bosom  friend  dear — 
The  Exile,  the  Martyr — for  country  and  kind — 
Godlike  virtues — all,  all  in  thy  heart  were  enshrin'd  ! 

"  Man's  race,  like  a  spring- tide,  shall  long  come  and  go, 
Bearing  great  names  in  its  ebb  and  its  flow ; 
But  what  patriot-name  on  its  dark  wave  shall  shine 
So  purely — so  brightly — so  grandly  as  thine  ? 


166  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Thou'st  borne  the  cross  of  my  sorrows  and  wrongs, 
And  thou  would'st  have  changed  all  my  tears  into  songs 
Of  freedom  and  joy,  could  each  drop  in  thy  veins 
Heal  the  wounds  of  my  anguish  or  melt  off  my  chains  ! 

"  I  weep — but  tho'  darkly  my  sad  tears  may  run — 
My  soul  bounds  with  glory  to  name  thee  my  son  ! 
Yes,  Erin's  beloved — whose  veins'  warm  springs 
Elash'd  red  with  the  fire  of  the  blood  of  my  Kings  ! 
The  proud  eagle-flight  of  their  spirit  was  thine, 
But  thy  heart-gushing  love  and  devotion  were  mine ! 
For  no  chief  of  thy  race  ever  loved  me  more  true, 
Since  the  grand,  golden  days  of  my  Kingly  Boru  ! 

"Thou  art  gone  to  repose,  with  the  brave  patriot-band 
That  strove,  bled,  and  suffer'd,  and  died  for  my  land  ! 
They've  welcomed  thee  now  to  their  star-bowers  of  rest, 
Where  the  flowers  never  die  in  the  fields  of  the  Blest ! 
And  thou'lt  gaze  on  the  world-lighting  fire  of  God's  face, 
With  a  prayer  on  thy  lips  for  my  heart-stricken  race ; 
And  when  the  dark  veil  of  my  fate  is  withdrawn, 
Thou'lt  watch  for  my  day'-star  and  welcome  its  dawn  \ 

"'  Oh,  Poland !  my  sister  in  bondage  and  woe  I 
The  champion  and  friend  of  thy  cause  is  laid  low ! 
3Jho'  his  mighty  soul  wept  fiery  blood-tears  for  me, 
He'd  a  voice  and  a  heart  for  thy  sufferings  and  thee — 
Far — far  o'er  the  seas  shall  his  requiem  be  borne, 
And  sunny-eyed  Greece  and  Columbia  shall  mourn — 
Thou'lt  sigh  for  my  son,  'mid  the  battle's  career, 
With  the  gore  of  thy  savage  foes  red  on  thy  spear  !* 

"  In  my  soul,  on  the  throne  of  my  bosom  I'll  write 

His  dear  name  and  memory  in  letters  of  light ! 

And  when  the  now  living  shall  moulder  away, 

And  the  tongues  of  his  slanderers  melt  into  clay, 

His  name  shall  shine  out,  with  new  splendour  all  bright, 

Like  a  planet  appearing  more  radiant  at  night ! 

And  his  tomb,  where  repose  his  dear  ashes,  shall  be 

The  hallowed  haunt  of  the  faithful  and  free  !" 


JOHN  MITCHELL  EST  EXILE. 

Does  Erin  hear  her  Mitchell  sigh,  when  o'er  her  wounds  I 

weep? 
Did  Erin  see  her  Mitchell  chain'd — and  did  her  spirit  sleep  1 

*  The  Polea  were  grappling  with  the  Hussions,  at  the  titne  of  his  death; 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  167 

I  loved  thee  then — I  love  thee  now — tho'  far  away  from  thee, 
My    heart,    my  soul,   and   life   are    thine — my   Erinn    Oge 
Machree !  * 

As  the  lion  from  the  desert  in  strong  iron  fetters  borne, 
So  from  the  spirit  of  thy  cause  thy  faithful  son  was  torn ! 
But  craven-hearts  and  traitors  stood  between  thy  cause  and 

me, 
Thy  freedom  would  be  bought  with  blood— my  Erinn  Oge 

Machree  ! 

Oh  !  the  hungering  grief  of  exile !— oh,  the  weary  long  delay 
Of  retribution's  coming,  gnaws  my  heart  and  soul  away ! 
Oh !  my  spirit's  thirsty  craving  to  behold  thee  great  and  free, 
Has  turned    my    blood  and  brain  to  fire— my  Erinn    Oge 
Machree  ! 

I  kneel,  imploring  heaven  to  hurry  on  the  lagging  hour, 
When  Fate  shall  sound  the  death-knell  of  the  pirate's  bloody 

power ! 
When  thou  shalt  rise  all  glorious,  as  an  angel  'mid  the  sea, 
Earth's  Rose  and  Beauty's  Paradise — my  Erinn  Oge  Machree  I 

Oh  1  for  ten  thousand  fiery  Celts  to  act  at  my  command, 
Oh  !  for  a  field  and  hill-side  camp  within  my  native  land  ! 
Oh  !  for  a  day  to  meet  thy  foes — how  glorious  would  it  be 
To    die,    or     chase   them  from  thy  shore— ray  Erinn    Oge 
Machree  ! 

But  God  has  turn'd  away  his  face,  and  'tis  his  heavenly  will 

To  bend  the  yoke  of  servitude  upon  his  Israel  still ; 

And  well  art  thou  chastised,  my  love !  but  lift  thine  eyes  and 

see 
The  day  of  thy  release  is  near — my  Erinn  Oge  Machree  ! 

The  clouds  of  death  are  gathering  fast  o'er  Babylon's  strong 

towers, 
And  desolation's  night  shall  fall  upon  her  guilty  powers  ; 
And  those  that  scourged  thy  noble  sons  and  persecuted  thee, 
Will  yet  lie  trodden  in  the  dust — my  Erinn  Oge  Machree  I 

Then  dry  thy  gloomy  tears,  dear  land,  and  lift  thy  virgin  eyes, 
Thy  crown  of  thorns  will  turn  to  flowers,  for  heaven  has  heard 

thy  cries  ; 
When  she — whose  adamantine  foot  trod  down  thy  brave  and 

free — 
Shall  gnash  her  teeth   in    fire  and  blood— my  Erinn  Oge 

Machree  ! 

*  Young  Erinii  of  my  heart. 


168  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Oh !  thou  know'st  that  I  love  thee,  with  a  love  like  raging 

fire, 
That,  like  a  sleepless  serpent,  eats  away  my  heart  entire  ! 
Ever  longing— ever  craving,  thy  bright  shore  of  saints  to  see, 
Free  from  the  alien  scourge  and  curse— my  Erinn  Oge  Machree! 

I've  formed  a  crystal  temple  in  my  burning,  loving  heart, 
And  there  in  all  the  majesty  of  freedom's  dawn  thou  art ! 
There  in  thy  queenly  glory  I  behold  thee  great  and  free, 
My  own,  my  brilliant,  beautiful, — My  Erinn  Oge  Machree  ! 

I  know  thy  Mitchell's  name  is  shrined  within  thy  soul  of 

songs —  . 
I  published  to  the  wondering  world  the  story  of  thy  wrongs ! 
And  a  day  of  bloody  reckoning  draweth  near  thy  foes,  and 

thee, 
When  they  shall  weep  and  thou  shalt  laugh — my  Erin  Oge 

Machree  I 


TO  ROBERT  D.  JOYCE. 

On  the  Publication  of  his  Poems. 

Bold  master  of  the  Irish  lyre  !  sweet  mouth  of  song,  all  hail ! 
Feardana  of  the  lofty  verse  !  Ard  Filea  of  the  Gael ! 
As  joys  the  thirsty  traveller  when  a  pure  spring  warbles  near, 
So  burst  thy  living  numbers  on  my  soul's  enraptured  ear ! 

The  silent,  cloud-robed  grandeur  of  the  mountain  solitude, 
The  bowery  vale,  the  flowery  plain,  the  emerald-vested  wood  ; 
The  gaping  breach,  the  'leagured  town,  the  reckless  battle- 
throng — 
All  glow  before  my  spirit,  in  the  pictures  of  thy  song ! 

The  mystic  Spirit-world,  with  its  fairy  splendour  gay, 
Thy  daring  genius  has  unlock'd,  with  Poesy's  magic  key ; 
The  sun-ray'd  jewels  of  Romance,  with  all  their  pristine  light, 
Burst,  flashing  from  thy  wizard  pen,  upon  our  charm'd  sight ! 

Sweet  Ollav  of  the  golden  lay !  oh !  would  my  simple  praise 
Add  one  bright  floweret  to  the  crown  of  "thy  immortal  bays, 
And  place  thy  brilliant  page — a  gem — in  every  Irish  hand— 
Feardana  of  romantic  song  were  honour' d  in  our  land  ! 

Then  pour  upon  thy  country's  ear  thy  harp-notes  wild  an 

strong, 
And  melt  into  our  burning  hearts  the  jewels  of  thy  song  ; 
And  let  thy  eagle  Mtyae  tower  up  to  heaven,  on  flashing  wing, 
'Till  Erin,  with  adihiring  soul,  delights  to  hear  thee  sing  1 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  169 

Here,  by  old  Shannon's  noble  flood,  I  drink  thy  tuneful  lore, 
And,  as  my  spirit  sips  thy  strain,  I  thirst  and  long  for  more ! 
Back,  on  the  spring-tide  of  thy  verse,  I  float  to  olden  times, 
And  bathe  my  fancy  in  the  rays  of  radiant  Fairy  climes ! 

THE  WOODMAN'S  DAUGHTER. 

The  dawn  was  blushing  on  the  streams — 

Dark  frown'd  the  woods  on  Cratloe's  mountains  ; 
Thro'  wavy  mist  the  crimson  beams 

Stole  o'er  the  silvery  fields  and  fountains  ; 
The  clouds  were  bright'ning  in  the  east, 

With  many  a  shade  and  sun-gemm'd  curl, 
When  by  the  river's  azure  breast 

Stood,  all  alone,  a  weeping  girl. 

The  rose  was  faded  on  her  cheek, 

And  all  that  wild  despair  expresses 
Was  in  her  eye — her  voice  was  weak — 

The  dew  was  glistening  on  her  tresses — 
Upon  a  grassy  mound  above 

The  amber  bosom  of  the  water — 
The  victim  of  an  ill-starr'd  love — 

There  stood  the  woodman's  poor,  lost  daughter ! 

"  I  weep  at  my  own  wake !"  she  cried, 

"My  own  sad  funeral  I'm  attending ! 
My  bier  and  shroud  this  silent  tide — 

My  plumes  the  green  reeds  o'er  me  bending ! 
Oh  !  love  !  is  this  my  bridal  bed — 

Is  this  the  wedding-day  you've  brought  me  ? 
Have  all  the  golden  vows  you  made, 

But  dark  disgrace  and  ruin  wrought  me  ? 

"No  more,  by  wild  Blackwater's  grove, 

I'll  wander  thro'  the  sunny  meadows, 
Where  first  I  own'd  my  timid  love, 

Beneath  the  hazel's  dewy  shadows  ! 
Oh !  heart  deserted  and  deceived — 

Oh  !  you  whose  artful  words  betray'd  it — 
You  for  whom  that  fond  heart  lived — 

Behold  the  ruin  you  have  made  it ! 

"Ah  !  false  one!  why  was  I  so  blind 

To  love  thee — listen,  and  believe  thee  ? 
Oh  !  broken  heart  were  you  less  kind, 

He  never — never  could  deceive  me  ! 
Hide  me,  0  Death !  let  foe  and  friend 

Erase  me  from  their  recollection  ! 
0  love !  0  love !  is  this  the  end 

Of  all  my  fondness  and  affection  ? 

12 


170  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

"  My  shame  is  known — my  father  weeps — 

The  village  maidens  shun  our  dwelling ! 
My  lonely  mother  seldom  sleeps, 

For  day  and  night  her  tears  are  welling  ! 
But  I  will  hide  my  early  shame, 

Deep — deep  beneath  this  gloomy  water ! 
The  eye  of  scorn — the  voice  of  blame — 

No  more  shall  reach  the  woodman's  daughter ! 

"My  babe  unborn,  ah  !  must  you  share 

Your  mother's  doom  and  tribulation  ? 
Ere  you  have  known  your  mother's  care, 

Or  smiled  amid  the  bright  creation  ! 
But  I  shall  never  give  you  birth, 

Tho'  dear  as  life  and  soul  I  prize  you — 
A  thing  forbid  by  heaven  and  earth — 

Yet  never  shall  the  world  despise  you  ! 

* '  Death's  sleep  is  stealing  on  my  eyes  ! 

My  weary  day  of  life  is  over  ! 
Where  are  my  dreams  of  wedded  joys — 

And  where  are  you,  my  faithless  lover  ? 
Ye  virgins  of  the  bowery  vale, 

No  more,  with  downcast  eyes,  you'll  shun  me  ! 
Forget  my  name  and  hush  the  tale 

That  brought  the  stain  of  shame  upon  me  !" 

Her  ribbon'd  bonnet  she  untied —  ,  , 

With  gaudy  silk  and  flowerets  gleaming ;  ^ 

Her  homely  scarf  she  cast  aside — 

Her  eyes,  with  grief's  last  tear-gush  streaming, 
Look'd  wildly  towards  her  rural  home — 

Then  turning  to  the  trembling  river, 
She  plunged  amid  its  whirling  foam, 

And  sank  in  death's  cold  sleep  for  ever. 

They  sought  her,  all  the  live-long  day, 

In  glen  and  grove,  but  no  one  found  her ; 
Deep,  deep  in  Shannon's  flood  she  lay — 

The  silvery  fishes  gliding  round  her  ! 
They  sought  her  in  the  dark-blue  tide — 

In  wild  distraction  shrieked  her  mother, 
And  on  the  river's  lonely  side, 

With  tears  of  vengeance,  wail'd  her  brother. 

They  raised  her  body  from  the  flood, 

And  in  a  rural  grave  they  laid  her, 
While  many  a  burning  curse  pursued 

The  heartless  villain  that  betrayed  her.     . 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  171 

The  village  girls,  for  many  a  day, 

Bewailed  the  woodman's  blue-eyed  daughter, 
The  loveliest  corpse  that  ever  lay 

Beneath  the  Shannon's  crystal  water. 


THE  LILY  OF  SUNVILLE. 

Is  the  beautiful  Lily  of  Sunville  no  more, 
Ere  the  bright-flowering  bloom  of  her  springtime  was  o'er  ? 
Woe  is  me,  that  the  grave  and  the  pale,  winding-sheet, 
Have  wrapt,  in  their  shadows,  the  gentle  and  sweet ! 

I  witness' d  your  bridal,  as  splendid  and  bright, 

As  ever  the  church  sanctified  with  a  rite ! 

And  a  thousand  lips  praised  you,  and  breathed  a  prayer 

On  your  pure  virgin-spirit — oh !  graceful  and  fair  ! 

There  was  pleasure  around  you  from  morn  'till  night, 
For  you  touch'd  every  heart  with  a  glow  of  delight ! 
And  the  generous  house  of  your  kind-handed  sire, 
Was  gay  as  a  banquet-harp  strung  with  gold  wire ! 

That  house  was  a  heaven  while  you  were  the  sun 
Which  shed  brightness  around  it — oh  !  beautiful  one ! 
While  the  rich  feasted  there — the  forlorn  and  poor 
Ne'er  turn'd  with  a  cold,  empty  hand  from  the  door ! 

Sweet  words  of  compassion  and  kindness  were  there 
For  all  who  would  come  with  a  tale  of  despair  ! 
And  the  full,  friendly  hand  was  held  forth  to  redress 
Each  poor  bashful  neighbour  and  child  of  distress  ! 

There  the  music  that  'neath  your  fair  white  fingers  rung, 
Seem'd  to  borrow  its  wild  syren  tones  from  your  tongue  ! 
And  your  smiles  made  me  think  of  the  angels  above, 
When  they  throng  round  the  Lord,  with  the  songs  of  their 
love! 

I  have  seen  a  snow-cloud  on  Camailte's  blue  height, 
But  your  brow  was  as  fair,  and  your  bosom  as  white  ! 
I  have  heard  the  May-song  of  the  river-breeze  sweet, 
And  I  thought  of  your  voice  and  your  light-treading  feet ! 

I've  marked  the  Spring-stars,  in  the  deep  twilight  skies, 
Looking  kindly  towards  earth,  like  your  calm,  gentle  eyes, 
When  your  fair  hand  was  reached  with  a  boon  of  relief 
To  some  creature  of  want  or  a  victim  of  grief. 


172  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

I  have  watched  the  new  summer-moon  stealing  from  view, 
'Mid  the  fire-isles  that  blaze  in  the  dark,  aerial  blue, 
'Till  her  pale  ring  was  lost  in  the  foam-bosom'd  wave — 
So  you,  oh  !  beloved  !  have  sunk  to  the  grave  ! 

Aye,  sank  to  the  grave  the  foul  worms  among — 
Oh  !  my  bosom  would  burst  if  you  lay  there  unsung ! 
For  I  bless  your  loved  name,  when  I  think  of  the  days, 
When  your  sweet  voice  gave  music  and  grace  to  my  lays  ! 

Yes,  the  tears  of  my  heart  on  your  tombstone  would  burst, 
If  they'd  soothe  your  dear  spirit  or  warm  your  dust !' 
And  oft  have  my  thoughts  climb'd  the  heavens  to  see 
If  thy  angel  companions  were  lovely  as  thee  ! 


THE  DEATH  OF  KING  CRIMTHAN. 

a.d.  378. 

This  illustrious  Irish  King,  of  brilliant  achievements,  at  home  and  on 
the  Continent,  was  poisoned  by  the  hand  of  his  own  sister,  Mongfinne, 
(fair  tresses)  in  the  bright  career  of  his  splendid  triumphs.  Her  object 
for  the  committal  of  so  base  a  crime,  was  to  have  her  son  elected  to  the 
supreme  throne  in  Crimthan's  place.  But  her  wicked  project  was  never 
consummated,  for  not  one  of  her  descendants  ever  came  to  the  throne  of 
ancient  Erin,  except  Roderick  O'Connor  and  Torloghmore,  two  of  the  most 
fatal  monarchs  that  Ireland  ever  saw.  On  presenting  the  poisoned  cup  to 
her  brother,  she  tasted  it  before  him,  in  order  to  allay  any  suspicion  that 
might  arise  in  his  mind.  She  soon  expired  from  the  effect  of  the  dose,  but 
the  King  continued  his  march  thro'  the  country  until  he  arrived  at  the 
hill  of  Bally kinnane in  the  county  of  Clare,  about  three  miles  from  Limerick. 
There,  in  the  midst  of  his  sorrowing  army,  he  was  seized  with  horrid  spasms, 
and  he  expired  on  the  summit  of  the  hill.  He  was  buried  where  he  died, 
and  a  large  cairn  was  raised  over  his  remains  to  mark  his  grave.  A  few 
months  ago  I  went,  accompanied  by  another  lover  of  Irish  lore,  to  see  this 
remarkable  grave.  All  the  stones  which  composed  the  great  Cairn  were 
taken  away  by  the  landlord  to  build  fences  on  his  land,  but  the  principal 
grave-stone  whiclrvcovers  the  monarch's  ashes  is  still  there  unmolested. 
The  peasantry  of  the  district  are  quite  familiar  with  this  grave  and  its 
strange  history.  They  call  the  hill  Knoc  High  Crimthan,  i.e.,  King  Crim- 
than's HilL  He  was  succeeded  on  the  royal  throne  of  Ireland  by  the  cele- 
brated Niall  of  the  Nine  Hostages. 

King  Crimthan  has  marched  to  the  land  of  the  South, 
Taking  hostage,  and  tribute,  and  spoil  on  his  route  ; 
At  the  head  of  his  glittering  battalions  he  rode, 
With  the  pride  of  a  victor  and  pomp  of  a  god. 
And  his  ringletted  sister  came  forth,  with  feign'd  joy, 
From  her  bright-royal  halls  by  the  waves  of  the  Moy, 
And  she  stretch' d  her  white  arms  her  brother  to  greet ; 
Who  could  think  there  was  guile  in  a  bosom  so  sweet  ? 

Her  eye  was  the  crystal  that  gleams  on  the  flower 
When  morning  looks  down  thro'  the  mist  of  a  shower ; 
And  she  look'd  like  the  white  cloud  that  gleams  on  the  hill, 
When  summer  is  bright  and  the  breezes  are  still. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  173 

With  her  rich  tresses  bound  by  a  diadem-band, 
She  gave  to  the  monarch  her  bright- jewelFd  hand  ; 
And  he  sprang  from  his  grand,  golden  car  to  the  ground, 
And  embraced  the  fair  dame  while  her  virgins  stood  round. 

Three  days  hath  he  tasted  the  festive  delights 
Of  her  high  banquet-hall,  with  his  chieftains  and  knights  ; 
But  when  he  arose  his  brave  march  to  resume, 
And  braced  on  his  armour,  gold  helmet  and  plume, 
She  moved  to  his  side  while  her  right  hand  held  up, 
With  affection's  dear  semblance,  a  death-bearing  cup, 
And  she  spoke  in  his  ear,  like  the  song-bird  of  Spring, 
"Take  this  sweet,  parting  drink  from  thy  sister,  0  King  !" 

To  lull  his  suspicions,  if  any,  to  sleep, 

She  tasted  the  draught  but  she  tasted  too  deep  ; 

Then  he  shook  her  soft  hand  as  she  stood  in  the  hall, 

And  he  heaved  up  the  bowl  till  he  emptied  it  all. 

Away  on  his  journey  the  monarch  is  gone, 

And  his  murderess  has  fled  to  her  chamber  alone, 

Where  the  blood  of  her  heart,  like  a  furnace,  dried, 

And,  with  hot  bursting  eye-balls,  she  writhed  and  died. 

Thro'  Galway  and  Thomond  brave  Crimthan  has  march'd, 
And  there's  death  in  his  heart  and  his  vitals  are  parch'd ; 
But  when  he  reach'd  Bally kinnane's  gloomy  hill, 
His  warriors  and  Brehons,  and  Druids  stood  still ; 
And  they  laid  their  sick  king  on  a  heather  couch  down, 
And  their  murmur  arose,  like  the  winter  wind's  moan, 
For  the  voice  of  their  anguish  was  awful  and  loud, 
When  they  saw  the  death-pangs  of  the  conqueror  proud. 

The  mists  of  the  West  round  the  sun's  face  are  roll'd, 

And  the  heather  seems  sheeted  with  crimson  and  gold  ; 

While  high,  'mid  the  haze,  on  the  summit's  blue  ring 

The  warriors  are  making  a  grave  for  their  king  : 

With  their  broad  swords  they  shaped  it,  and  down  in  its  bed 

Was  many  a  hot  drop  of  their  hearts'  sorrow  shed  ; 

While  the  Druids,  white-robed,  with  their  brows  to  the  sun, 

Stood  unmoved  on  the  hill  till  the  ritual  was  done. 

They  placed  him  deep  down  in  that  grave's  silent  hall, 
His  shield  was  his  pillow,  his  war-cloak  the  pall ; 
His  bier  the  wild  heather,  his  plume  the  hill-cloud, 
The  helmet  his  napkin,  the  armour  his  shroud. 
And  there  thro'  long  ages  the  mountain  winds  sing 
Dreary  requiems  of  grief  o'er  the  sleep  of  the  king  ; 
And  his  gravestone  is  fringed  with  the  bright  rosy  stain 
Of  the  red  broom  that  made  the  sweet  bior*  of  the  Dane. 

*  This  heath,  from  which  the  Danes  brewed  a  delicious  liquor,  is  entirely 
different  from  the  common  heath.  It  is  quite  short  and  thin  and  is  adorned 
with  a  beautiful  rose-coloured  blossom.  It  is  called  in  Irish,  Freik  an-a- 
nee,  which  means,  Ale  of  the  Liver,  on  account  of  its  medicinal  virtue  fo-* 
curing  liver  complaint. 


174  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

THE  BATTLE  OF  CROOM.* 
a.d.  1599. 

Lord  Essex  is  coming — and  deep  is  the  gloom 
Of  his  banners  o'ershading  the  borders  of  Croom — 
Up — up  ye  fierce  men  of  the  mountain  and  glen, 
And  raise  your  loud  war-shouts  of  freedom  again  ! 

Like  the  dark  mists  of  winter  o'erspreading  the  vale, 
The  plumes  of  the  Saxon  float  proud  on  the  gale  ; 
Like  the  waves  of  the  river,  when  lit  by  the  sun, 
The  steel-sheathed  ranks  in  their  splendour  move  on. 

The  war-fires  are  lighted — oh !  princely  Mac  Caura  ! 
Haste — sharpen  thy  sword  for  the  combat  to-morrow  I 
Let  thy  proud  banner  wave  o'er  the  battle's  red  brow, 
And  hurl  thy  clan  on  the  ranks  of  the  foe  ! 

Arise  to  the  contest,  ye  brave  Geraldines ! 
Array  the  fierce  war-horse,  and  marshal  your  lines ! 
Come*  forth  to  the  field,  like  the  dash  of  the  sea, 
When  the  tempest-cloud  bursts  upon  stormy  Kilkee  ! 

The  red  sun  is  bright  on  the  hills  of  Clan  Carrha — 
They  sweep  to  the  fight,  like  the  death-winged  arrow ; 
The  wild  battle-slogan,  tremendous  and  stern, 
Swells  fierce,  on  the  wind,  from  the  ranks  of  the  kern. 

The  blaze  and  the  clash  of  the  combat  began, 
And  God's  burning  terrors  seem'd  wielded  by  man ; 
From  the  Gael  to  the  Saxon  one  flame-deluge  burn'd, 
And  fiercely  the  Saxon  his  vengeance  return'd. 

As  the  mountain-cloud,  chafed  by  the  wind-spirit's  ire, 
Spits  the  red-winged  flash  from  its  black  mouth  of  fire ; 
So  furious  and  fast  did  Clan  Carrha's  fierce  sons, 
On  the  proud  Saxon  host  pour  the  blaze  of  their  guns. 

The  mail'd  phalanx  bursts  where  the  wild  Gallowglass, 
With  his  ponderous  axe,  thro'  the  ranks  hew'd  a  pass  ; 
While  the  armour  that  guarded  their  hearts'  purple  wells, 
Rang  loud,  as  the  clashing  of  iron-tongued  bells. 

Have  you  heard,  at  deep  midnight,  the  sea-surges  rave, 
When  the  tempest-king  dances  in  fire  on  the  wave  ? 
So  dire  was  the  fury  of  axes  and  spears, 
As  they  plough'd  the  strong  mail  of  the  tall  cavaliers. 

*  A  large  division  of  Lord  Essex's  army,  on  its  way  to  invade  the  North, 
was  attacked  near  Macroom  by  the  O'Mores  and  Mac  Carthys,  and  routed 
with  great  loss.  The  place  was  called  the  "  Pass  of  Plumes,"  on  account 
of  the  large  mass  of  plumes  shorn  from  the  helmets  of  the  English  cavalry. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  175 

Like  reeds  on  the  river-bank,  trampled  and  strown, 
Lie  footmen  and  horsemen  together  o'erthrown  ; 
Hark  !  the  wild  cheer  of  victory — Lord  Essex  has  fled, 
And  the  flower  of  his  legions  behind  him  lies  dead. 

There's  triumph  and  joy  in  the  homes  of  the  Gael, 
There's  wailing  and  woe  in  the  towers  of  the  Pale  ; 
The  Saxon  is  swept  from  the  plains  of  Clan  Carrha, 
And  Desmond  is  free  as  her  wild  Gougane  Barra. 


THE  MISER'S  GRAVE. 

In  silence  I  gaze  on  the  dust  where  you  lie, 

But  my  breast  feels  no  throb,  and  my  heart  heaves  no  sigh  ; 

In  Memoriam,  above  you,  appears  the  cold  stone, 

Sure,  while  living,  your  heart  was  as  cold  as  its  own! 

You  might  be  below  or  you  may  be  above, 

But  I'm  sorry  you  died,  without  no  one  to  love  ! 

Tho'  your  gold,  in  a  shower,  on  your  gravestone  would  glare, 

'Twould  not  purchase  one  tear  to  your  memory  there  ! 

You  were  cold  to  the  poor,  to  the  sick,  and  distress'd, 
But  why  you  were  so,  your  Creator  knows  best ; 
You  spurn'd  the  friendship  that  links  man  to  man, 
Alas  !  that  too  many  are  following  your  plan  ! 

Cold  moans  the  bleak  wind  o'er  the  grass  and  the  dew 
On  your  grave — yet  I  know  'tis  not  moaning  for  you  ; 
Tho',  like  your  drear  life,  'tis  unfeeling  and  cold, 
Yet  it  sighs  not,  with  pity,  for  you  and  your  gold  ! 

On  the  side  of  your  mound,  a  young  daisy  appears, 
Its  pure  snowy  fringe  is  besilver'd  with  tears  ; 
I'll  kiss  off  those  sun-gems — from  Nature  they  grew — 
For  I  know  the  sweet  flower  is  not  weeping  for  you  ! 

A  wild  bee's  weird  hum,  'mid  the  silence,  I  hear, 
He's  gone— for  a  moment  he  only  came  near — 
To  some  sweeter  part  of  earth's  bosom  he  flew, 
For  he  knows  that  he'd  gather  no  honey  from  you ! 

From  yonder  hawthorn's  white  vest  in  the  sun, 

A  red-breasted  bird  all  the  morning  sings  on ; 

You  cared  not  for  song  while  life's  throbbings  you  knew, 

Then  the  sweet  thing  is  singing  for  Nature,  not  you  ! 


176  LAYS  AND    LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

A  grass-spider  has  woven  his  web  a1j  your  head, 
To  entangle  some  poor,  winged  victim  'tis  spread  ; 
He  has  just  merely  done  what  you  often  did  do, 
For  many  a  victim  was  tangled  by  you  ! 

If  the  treasures  of  earth  were  all  circling  your  brow, 
You'd  not  open  your  cold  eyes  to  look  on  them  now  ; 
While  travelling  through  life  little  mercy  you  knew, 
Yet  I  hope  our  dear  Saviour  has  mercy  on  you ! 

You  lived  for  yourself,  and  for  no  one  you  cared, 
You  saw  friends  in  want  while  your  money  you  spared  ; 
You  left  it  behind  you — what  more  could  you  do  ? — 
Then  no  one — ay,  nothing !  should  mourn  for  you  ! 


THE  HEROINE  OF  THE  BREACH. 

A     ROMANCE    OF     THE    SIEGE    OF    LIMERICK. 

On  the  city  of  heroes  the  night-shadow  lay, 

And  her  brave  sons  reposed  from  the  toils  of  the  fray — 

Tower,  bastion,  and  wall,  with  the  cold  mists  are  wet — 

The  gates  are  secure  and  the  sentinels  set. 

The  morrow's  fierce  work  in  the  council  is  plann'd — 

The  troops  are  arranged  and  the  ramparts  are  mann'd — ■ 

The  guards  keep  their  eyes  on  the  dark  plain  below, 

All  lined  with  the  tents  of  the  dread  foreign  foe. 

But  who  is  yon  maiden  by  Shannon's  calm  tide  ? 
And  who  is  that  tall,  comely  youth  at  her  side  ? 
'Tis  Con  Mac  Namara,  from  Cratloe's  brown  highland, 
And  Mary  O'Connor  the  Rose  of  the  Island  ! 
He,  graceful  and  proud  as  a  Prince  of  the  Gael, 
She,  blue-eyed  and  amber-haired,  pensive  and  pale  ; 
But  love  never  knitted,  in  joy  or  in  sorrow, 
More  fond  souls  than  Mary  and  Con  Mac  Namara ! 

"  Alas  !  my  young  heart's  best  beloved !"  she  cries, 

With  a  sigh  on  her  lips  and  a  prayer  in  her  eyes, 

"  Perhaps  from  this  night,  our  fond  meetings  are  o'er, 

'Till  we  meet  yet,  in  peace,  on  eternity's  shore ! 

To-morrow's  fierce  combat  will  prove  to  the  world 

Our  glory  or  shame,  when  the  Green  is  unfurled  ! 

But,  Con !  I  implore  you!  whate'er  may  befall, 

Retreat  not,  but  die  ere  you  move  from  the  wall  ! 

And  if  heaven  wills  that  I  meet  you  again, 

Let  me  see  you  a  victor,  0  gallant  youth,  then  ! 

If  not — may  my  eyes  in  the  grave's  silent  rest 

Be  closed,  with  the  cold,  weeping  turf  on  my  breast, 

Ere  I  live  to  behold  the  dire  ruin  and  sin 

That  shall  ravage  our  town  if  the  Dutchmen  come  in !" 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  177 

The  youth  gazed  around  him,  and  pressed  her  white  hand, 

Pointing  towards  the  grim  ramparts  so  fearlessly  mann'd; 

"By  the  blood  of  my  father  who  fell  at  the  Boyne, 

I'll  wed  thee  a  victor  or  never  be  thine ! 

Behold  this  brave  sword  !"  and  he  held  up  the  blade 

Gleaming  brightly  before  the  pale  face  of  the  maid — 

'  *  This  hard-temper'd  steel  to  a  cedar  shall  grow, 

Ere  you  see  haughty  Luimneach  possess 'd  by  the  foe  ! 

Oh  !  Mary  !  I  think  while  I  gaze  on  your  charms, 

'Tis  Erin  herself  that  inspires  me  to  arms ! 

And  to-morrow,  please  heaven,  this  brave  sword  shall  teach 

Dutch  Billy  a  lesson,  at  yonder  gray  breach  ! 

He  deems  he  has  nothing  to  do  but  walk  in — 

If  he  does,  by  the  Cross,  he'll  be  slash'd  out  again!" 

He  laughed,  and  the  pale  maiden  smiled  as  he  spoke, 

But  a  sigh  of  regret  from  her  heaving  heart  broke  ; 

'* 1  know  you  are  brave,  and  your  actions  have  proved 

How  faithful  and  well  you  deserve  to  be  loved  ? 

Forgive  your  own  Mary  for  daring  to  show 

How  a  youth  of  your  valour  should  rush  on  the  foe  ! 

Oh  !  do  not  be  reckless  the  danger  to  seek — 

'Twas  love  for  our  country  that  forced  me  to  speak ! 

Be  bold  in  the  battle,  but  dare  not  too  far, 

Cool  valour,  not  rashness,  is  safest  in  war ! 

You  know  that  my  father  and  brothers  are  dead — 

Together  they  perish 'd  in  Shannon's  deep  bed, 

When  the  troops,  from  Killeely,  in  rapid  retreat, 

Found  at  Thomond-gate's  draw-bridge  one  treacherous  fate.* 

Oh  !  Virgin  of  mercy  ! — I  stood  on  the  strand, 

And  I  saw  the  white  flood  swallow  down  the  brave  band, 

And  their  hoarse,  horrid  drowning  shrieks  rang  to  the  sky, 

As  the  surges  leap'd  o'er  them,  with  wild,  savage  joy! 

The  swift  rolling  water  a  moment  seem'd  chain'd, 

And  its  ridges  of  silver  with  blood-streaks  were  vein'd ; 

While  thick  o'er  its  bosom  the  foam-circles  flew 

Where  the  heads  of  the  doom'd  ones  sank  deep  from  my  view! 

I  heard  yonder  rapid  Fallf  gurgle  and  wail, 

As  if  death,  overgorged,  became  choked  with  the  meal ! 

But  the  sun  seem'd  to  die,  and  my  eyes  saw  no  more, 

For  the  sight  left  their  balls,  and  I  swoon'd  on  the  shore  ! 

•  It  is  stated  that  an  officer  named  Clifford,  who  commanded  the  garrison 
that  guarded  Thomond  Bridge,  was  bribed  to  destroy  a  division  of  the  Irish 
army,  by  opening  the  drawbridge  before  them,  on  their  retreat  from  Killeely 
fields,  where  they  were  foraging  their  horses,  when  attacked  by  an  ov«r- 
whelming  force  of  the  "Williamites,  who  drove  them  into  the  snare  prepijfwt 
for  their  destruction. 

i  The  Fall  of  Curracour,  which  signifies  "  Help  !  Help  /"  the  ory  of  the 
drowning  men  when  they  fell  into  the  current. 


178  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Since  that  blood-freezing  scene  of  disaster  and  dole, 
Gloom- visions'of  horror  have  haunted  my  soul — 
I'm  alone  in  the  world,  but  while  heaven  spares  thee, 
There's  yet  a  sweet  flower  in  life's  desert  for.  me  !" 

He  smiled  and  replied,  in  a  low-breathed  tone, 

"Dear  Mary !  my  heart  and  my  life  are  your  own  ! 

When  the  combat  is  o'er  and  the  victory  ours; 

And  the  Spirit  of  Freedom  enthroned  on  our  towers ! 

I'll  make  you  the  happiest,  loveliest  bride 

That  e'er  blushed,  in  her  joy,  by  a  warrior's  side  !  . 

And  I'll  bring  from  the  battle  some  rich  golden  prize, 

As  bright  as  my  sunny-hair'd  darling's  blue  eyes  !        ; 

And — oh  !  glorious  hour — when  our  city  is  free, 

Believe  it,  my  sweet  one  !  I'll  hasten  to  thee  ! 

Weep  not,  love !  be  calm — this  is  no  time  for  tears — 

Hark  !  the  roll  of  the  drum ! — see,  the  morning  appears ! 

All  hail .'  fatal  day  of  contention  and  death  ! 

How  radiant  thy  beams,  and  how  peaceful  thy  breath  ? 

From  the  east's  yellow  bosom  thou  lookest  as  bright,  .' 

As  if  banquets,  'ji'ot  blood,  were  to  hallow  thy  light-! 

Oh !  day  of  destruction !  oh  !  calm-breathing  morn  ! 

In  storm  and  lightning  thou  should' st  be  born ! 

Since  the  great  God  hath  called  out  of  darkness  thy  ray; 

It  never  gave  birth  to  so  deathful  a. day ! 

The  drums  beat  to  arms — the  towers  are  alive 

With  troops,  gathering  thick  as  the  swarms  of  the  hive — 

Look  yonder — a, god  to  the  ramparts  has  come—* 

'Tis  Sarsfield  !  I  know  the  proud  wave  of  his  plume ! 

Return  to  thy  home,  O  dear  Mary  1  and  pray 

To  the  great  God  to  give  us  the  victory  to'  day ! 

Towers,  walls,  gates  and  all,  shall  be  blown  in  the  air, 

Ere  we  yield  the  brave  city  while  Sarsfield  is  there !" 

She  wrung  her  white  hands,  and  cried  bitter  and  loud— 
He  kiss'd  her — departed,  and  riish'd  thro'  the  crowd- 
To  the  ramparts  he  bounded,  with  wind-winged  feet, 
And  left  the  sad  maiden  to  weep  in  the  street. 

'Tis  noonday — the  sun  his  hot  zenith-beams  'threw, 
In  rivers  of  gold,  round  his  palace  of  blue* 
And,  in  mimic  fire,  blazed  on  sword,  musket,  and  mail, 
Where  the  foreign  hosts  cover' d  the  plain  of  Singail.* 
One  roar  of  the  cannon — one  roll  of  the  drum--- 
One  blast  of  the  trumpet — and  forward  they  come ; 
On  they  drive,  like  a  sea  gathering  wrath  in  its  track,  ' 
With  the  foam  on  its  breast  and  the  squall  at  its  back, 

•  Singleland,  the  ground  of  many  a  hot  contest,  for^centuries,  between 
the  natives  and  the  invaders.  , 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  179 

Rising,  whirling,  and  boiling'  'till  stopp'd  by  the  shore, 
In  madness  it  breaks  and  leaps  back,  with  a  roar, 
Thus  check 'd  at  the  breach  by  the  valour  within, 
Surged  and  burst  the  fierce  torrent  of  horses  and  men  ; 
O'er  ditch,  fosse,  and  rampart  one  hurricane  broke 
.  Of  fire,*  steel  and  iron,  and  thunder,  and  smoke — 
One  dread  crash  of  swords — the  defenders  are  down — 
One  mad  push  of  hosts — they  are  into  the  town — 
One  cheer,  and  one  dash  of  the  women  and  men — 
And  back  through  the  breach  they  are  beaten  again ! 

But  who  is  he,  first  in  the  grim  battle -van, 
With. the  arm  of  a  god  and  the  breast  of  a  man  ? 
'Tis,  Con  MacNamara  from  Cratloe's  brown  highland, 
The  darling  of  Mary — the  Rose  of  the  Island  ! 
There's  a  wound  iii  his  side  from  the  Williamite  shot, — 
There's  blood  on  his  brow — but  he  matters  it  not ; 
On  the  heads  of  the  foemen  his  rapid  steel  falls, 
And  piles  of  their  dead  are  heap'd  under  the  walls  ! 

,  Have  you  seen,  'mid  the^hill-clouds,  red-fiery  shafts  gleam, 
When  the  storm-fiend  puts  on  his  armour  of  flame, 
While  the  rain-deluge  sweeps  thro'  the  glens,  with  a  roar, 
From  the  heath-crested  summits  of  Cappantimore  ; 
Thus  flash'd  thro'  the  war-cloud  the  steel  of  brave  Con, 
Driving  ghosts  from  their  clay,  as  the  wild  rout  rolls  on — 
Clang,  clang  goes  his  sword,  and  a  dead,  hollow  sound 
Replies,  atreach  blow,  there's  a  corpse  on  the  ground! 
Death  stalks,  in  a  billow  of  gore,  at  his  side, 

.  And  his  pathway  of  slaughter  is  fearful  and  wide ; 
Towards  yonder  tall  knight — the  vast  blood-surge  he  stems — 
Whose  helmet  of  silver  is  circled  with  gems. — 
He  promised  his  amber-hair'd  Mary  a  prize, 
He  sees  it,  and  headlong  to  win  it  he  flies  ; 
And  he  thinks  how  resplendent  those  rays  of  the  mine 
In  the  rich,  flaxen  locks  of  his  fair  one  would  shine. 

The  eye  of  the  haughty  knight  mark'd  his  advance, 
And  swift,  at  his  bosom  he  aim'd  his  long  lance,' 
But  the  sword  of  the  Celt  broke  the  spear's  winged  force, 
And  dash'd  it  aside  from  its  blood-thirsty  course. 
'  They  rushed  on  each  other,  with  falchion  in  hand, 
And  in  quick,  tangled  flashes,  brand  leap'd  upon  brand  ; 
Like  two  dancing  sunbeams,  around  their  high  crests 
The-  circling*  steel  glitter 'd,  and  blazed  at  their  breasts. 
Brave  Con,  with  a  foot  like  the  wild  mountain-roe, 
Changed  ground  and  frustrated  the  aim  of  his  foe ; 
'Till  the  foreigner,  blinded  by  fury  and  hate, 
Grew  weak — dropp'd  his  guard  and  commenced  to  retreat — v 
With  the  sprii*g;  of  a  wolf-hound,  Con  follow'd — one  clash 
Resounds— aite  the  bleeding  knight  sinks,  with  a  crash.     . 


180  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  rich-jewell'd  helmet  he  stoop'd  to  unbind, 

When  a  Dutch  Cavalier,  from  the  trenches  behind, 

Dash'd  on  him,  unseen,  and  his  spear — like  a  flame 

In  the  whirlwind's  grasp — had  been  plunged  in  his  frame, 

But  Mary  O'Connor  rush'd  in  on  his  path, 

Like  an  angel  of  God  on  a  mission  of  wrath ; 

There's  a  stone  in  her  hand,  and  the  wave  of  her  hair, 

Like  a  sun-cloud  of  heaven,  is  spread  on  the  air — 

Crash  flies  the  crag  in  the  face  of  the  foe, 

And  prostrate  and  powerless  he  falls  at  the  blow. 

Her  brave  lover  tost  the  plumed  cap  from  his  head, 

And  the  knight's  silver  helmet  plac'd  on  in  its  stead  ; 

And  never  did  helmet  of  silver  or  steel 

Become  the  high  brow  of  a  hero  so  well. 

He  turns  to  the  maiden — "  0  Mary !  retire! 

See  the  foes  from  yon  battery  have  open'd  their  fire ! 

Soon  the  mine  will  be  sprung  and  that  tower  shall  be  driven, 

In  a  whirlwind  of  terror  and  ruin,  thro'  heaven ! 

But  she  stands  at  his  side,  'mid  the  thick-flaming  hail, 
And  bares  her  white  breast  to  the  bullet  and  steel ; 
He  shields  her  behind  him — she  walks  in  his  tread, 
And  follows  his  steps  o'er  the  wounded  and  dead. 

Now  the  Williamites  swept  thro'  the  breach,  like  the  wind, 

To  escape  the  hot  vengeance  that  press 'd  them  behind  ; 

And  the  fire, — the  wild  tumult, — the  groan  and  the  yell, 

Outrivall'd  the  deep,  fiery  horrors  of  hell. 

Like  the  Maelstrom  that  swallows  and  vomits  the  wreck, 

The  red-mouthed  breach  spewed  the  broken  host  back, 

And  Mary  is  swept,  from  her  young  lover's  side, 

In  the  surge  of  the  throng— like  a  flower  on  the  tide. 

"Mary!  Mary!"  he  cried,  with  a  wild,  thrilling  screech, 

As  she  pass'd,  'mid  the  rout  of  the  foe,  thro'  the  breach. 

Like  a  fire-spirit  rushing  in  flames  thro'  a  cloud, 

With  his  raised  sword,  he  plunged  thro'  the  heart  of  the  crowd ; 

He  hollows  a  road  thro'  the  mad,  driving  throng, 

And  his  steel  carries  death  where  he  dashes  along ; 

O'er  the  red  fosse  he  bounded,  and  headlong  away 

He  darts  'mid  the  flying  host's  wild  disarray ; 

Before  him  they  widen — behind  him  they, reel — 

As  the  broken  flood  tumbles  and  sways  at  the  keel. 

Oh !  he  sees  her — she  struggles  and  screams  in  despair — 

A  savage  Dane  drags  her  along  by  the  hair ; 

All  on  fire,  at  the  sight,  on  the  stranger  he  flew, 

And  clove,  at  a  blow,  skull  and  helmet  in  two. 

.  He  clasps  the  glad  maiden,  and  turns  on  his  track, 
Tlwo'  tfie  flying  steel-forest  he  fights  his  way  back ; 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  181 

But  the  helmet  of  gems  to  the  foemen  is  known, 

And  the  blaze  of  their  swords  hemmed  him  round,  like  a  zone ; 

Mary  springs  from  his  arm  and  wrenches  a  spear 

From  the  cold  stony  grasp  of  a  dead  cavalier ; 

like  a  goddess  of  war,  the  long  weapon  she  plies, 

And  stands  at  his  side,  with  her  soul  in  her  eyes ; 

He  guards  her— she  guards  him — the  spear  she  extends 

'Twixt  his  head  and  each  merciless  sword  that  impends ; 

But  so  fast  shower  the  numberless  strokes  of  the  foes, 

They  escape  from  the  blows  intercepted  by  blows. 

His  strength  fails — he  staggers — the  hour  of  his  doom, 

And  her  ruin — oh!  angels,  avert  it! — is  come, 

A  flood  of  fire  roars  from  the  ramparts*  on  high, 

Like  the  abyss  of  hell  leaping  into  the  sky  ; 

The  sun  seemed  to  whirl  from  its  sphere,  like  a  wheel, 

As  if  God's  judgment- thunders  had  burst  in  one  peal ; 

Earth  seem'd,  from  her  axis,  to  dance  at  the  sound, 

As  if  heaven's  artillery  roll'd  to  the  ground  ; 

Rocks  and  fragments  of  bodies  fell,  showering  amain, 

And  the  fugitives  reel'd,  as  if  drunk,  on  the  plain  ; 

And  a  shout  from  the  city  'rose,  furious  and  shrill 

As  the  yell  of  an  earthquake  engulfing  a  hill ; 

The  black  demon-shadows  of  ruin  pass'd  by, 

And  the  frantic  sounds  died  in  the  breast  of  the  sky ; 

And  the  sun  thro'  the  melting  haze  gave  back  his  beam, 

As  if  'waking,  rejoiced,  from  a  horrible  dream. 

On  the  fields  of  Singail  there  is  silence  and  gloom, 

Death,  havoc,  and  wreck,  have  deformed  their  bloom  ; 

No  foemen,  save  dead  ones,  are  seen  on  the  plain, 

But  Con  and  his  Mary  uninjured  remain. 

He's  weary  and  weak,  for  the  wound  in  his  side 

Has  emptied  his  veins  of  the  strength  of  their  tide. 

On  her  white  waxen  shoulder  his  cheek  is  laid  down, 

And  slowly  together  they  enter  the  town  ; 

Within  the  cleft  ramparts  he  sinks  to  the  ground, 

And  she  tears  off  her  'kerchief  and  binds  his  raw  wound. 

Sarsfield  clasp'd  her  fair  hand,  with  a  victor's  delight, 

And  gave  her  a  golden  ring  costly  and  bright. 

She  nurst  her  young  chief,  in  his  illness  and  pain, 

'Till  the  spring  of  his  vigour  return'd  again ;" 

And  he  led  to  the  altar  the  heroic  maid, 

And  took  her  to  France,  with  the  Irish  Brigade. 

*  The  blowing  up  of  the  Black  battery,  the  noise  of  which  was  heard  at  a 
distance  of  twenty  miles. 


182  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND, 


LAMENT  FOR  EDWARD  WALSH.* 

On  silver-bosom'd  Avon  Dhu 

Soft  shone  the  rosy  morning  beam, 
And  many  a  leaf,  impearl'd  with  dew, 

Hung  weeping  o'er  the  gentle  stream ; 
On  shaded  rock  and  misty  dell 

The  sickly  hue  of  Autumn  hung, 
When  by  the  river's  pensive  swell 

I  heard  this  plaintive  requiem  sung! — 

"From  wild  GlengariiFs  fairy  strand, 

To  Avon  Dhu's  romantic  side, 
From  gentle  Banna's  amber  sand 

To  Liffey's  darkly  winding  tide, 
From  Shannon's  border  to  the  sea — 

From  Suir's  bright  springs  to  crystal  Nore, 
Ye  sons  of  song,  come  mourn,  with  me, 

The  bard  of  legendary  lore  ! 

"  Ah !  gentle  star  of  genius  dear, 

Where  is  thy  beam  of  beauty  gone  ? 
Tho'  clouded  in  thy  kindred  sphere, 

Thy  ray  with  sweetest  splendour  shone  ! 
As  springs  the  modest  mountain-flower 

Beneath  mild  April's  dewy  ray — 
As  smiles  the  wild  rose  on  the  brier, 

Thy  genius  smiled  and  passed  away  ! 

"  Thy  country's  eyes  have  tears  for  thee ! 

Thy  country's  soul  embalms  thy  name  ! 
Thy  talent  grew,  a  fragrant  tree, 

Fann'd  by  the  genial  airs  of  fame ! 
Amid  a  nation's  tears  and  gloom, 

The  thrilling  sweetness  of  thy  lyre 
Awoke  her  greatness  from  its  tomb, 

And  stirred  her  heart's  blood  into  fire ! 

"  What  human  heart  can  read,  unmoved, 

The  record  of  thy  dying  hour, 
When  she,  thy  partner  so  beloved, 

Bent  o'er  thee,  like  a  weeping  flower  ? 
Alas  !  that  souls  so  sweetly  twined, 

Should  from  each  other's  love  be  torn ! 
Alas !  that  hearts  so  pu»3  and  kind 

As  hers,  should  sigh  and  weep  forlorn  ? 

*  Edward  "Walsh  was  one  of  the  sweetest  contributors  of  Irish  song  to 
Duffy's  Nation.  He  was  a  national  teacher,  and  he  died  at  a  young  age  in 
1850.  He  is  buried  in  the  Botanic  Gardens,  at  Cork,  where  his  admirers 
have  raised  a  neat  monument  over  his  remains. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  183 

"  By  silver  Avon's  misty  wave, 

He  won  the  treasure  of  her  love ; 
And  noble  was  the  heart  he  gave 

Unsullied  as  the  skies  above ! 
And  gentle  as  Loch  Sheeling's  swan, 

Was  she,  his  spirit's  worshipp'd  bride, 
And  love  and  beauty  round  her  shone, 

With  youth  and  virtue  at  her  side  ! 

"  The  breathings  of  his  lofty  soul 

Were  turned  to  music  in  her  praise  ! 
His  heart  was  Love's  own  banquet  bowl, 

And  she  the  bright  wine  of  his  days ! 
For  Erin  and  his^Bridghid  fair, 

His  wild  harp's  notes  were  pour'd  alone — 
For  Erin  and  his  Bridghid  dear, 

His  spirit  thrill'd  with  one  sweet  tone  ! 

"  Ye  hills  and  moors,  and  ferny  dales, 

By  fairy  Avon's  silent  tide  ! 
Ye  groves  and  banks,  and  shamrock  vales — 

No  more  he'll  hail  your  vernal  pride  ! 
His  sorrows  and  his  toils  are  o'er, 

And  keen  privations  suffer'd  long — 
His  gentle  heart  shall  feel  no  more 

The  genial  powers  of  love  and  song  !" 


TO  THE  MEMORY  OF  AN  ENGLISH  FRIEND. 

Lonely  by  the  sounding  Shannon,  ' 

All  day  long  I  mourn'd  and  sigh'd, 
For  my  friend  and  loved  companion 

Who  in  manhood's  beauty  died, 
Noble,  manly  feelings  moved  him 

Ireland's  griefs  to  understand  ; 
And  I  loved  him — fondly  loved  him — 

For  he  loved  the  dear  Old  Land  ! 

All  her  beauties  lay  before  him, 

Like  a  feast  before  a  king ; 
But  her  sorrow's  cloud  came  o'er  him, 

Like  the  melting  mist  of  Spring  ; 
And  I  blest  his  generous  nature, 

And  I  press'd  his  gallant  hand, 
When  he  curs' d  the  legislature 

That  oppress'd  the  dear  Old  Land. 

]  Tyrant  autocrats  he  hated, 

With  a  free-born  Briton's  pride ; 

•  But  the  toiling  poor  he  treated, 
With  respect  he  would  not  hide. 


184  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Spurned  he  every  courtly  bauble, 
Princely  sham  and  gilded  throne  ; 

And  his  toast  was — "  Here's  the  People  ! 
May  the  People  win  their  own  !" 

Oh,  lost  friend,  I  feel  a  burning, 

In  my  soul,  that  grasps  my  breath — 
Lonely  by  the  river  mourning — 

Mourning  for  thy  early  death  ! 
While  the  lark  from  heaven's  shadows, 

All  his  heart  in  love-songs  pours 
To  his  sweetheart,  in  the  meadows, 

Keeping  house  among  the  flowers. 

Often  on  the  hill's  dark  heather, 

When  the  days  were  bright  and  long, 
Have  we  sat,  in  joy  together, 

Listening  to  the  wild-bird's  song  : 
Still  he's  soaring,  warbling,  sighing, 

Near  the  gold-fringe  of  the  cloud  ; 
I  am  here,  and  you  are  lying 

In  the  shadow  of  your  shroud ! 

Like  a  plant,  you  grew  and  flourished  ! 

Like  a  pearl,  your  heart  was  bright  ! 
Like  a  flower,  you  fell  and  perished, 

Ere  your  May  saw  half  its  light? 
Summer's  beauty  all  is  lonely, 

Gloom  is  o'er  the  sunshine  spread  ; 
Summer's  bloom  brings  sorrow  only, 

Since  my  friendship's  flower  is  dead  ! 

For  your  voice  I  calmly  listen, 

As  the  dreamy  field- breeze  sighs  ; 
While  my  heart's  hot  crystals  glisten 

On  the  wet  fringe  of  my  eyes  ; 
Yet  this  softening  grief  grows  dearer, 

As  the  summer's  bloom  wears  on  ; 
For  it  steals  my  spirit  nearer 

To  the  heaven  where  you  are  gone !  ~ 

Every  bird's  song  round  me  swelling, 

'Wakens  some  sweet  memory  ; 
Every  bright  wild-flower  seems  telling 

Some  dear  anecdote  of  thee  ! 
And  my  fancy  stops  to  hear  it, 

With  a  fond  responding  tone, 
Just  as  spirit  speaks  to  spirit, 

Language  to  this  world  unknown. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  185 

There's  a*spirit-world  around  us— 

Yes,  I  feel  its  mystic  sphere  ! 
Ties  of  dust  have  merely  bound  us 

Fnom  the  glorious  freedom  there  ! 
We  are  dead — the  dead  are  living — 

We're  in  prison — they  are  free  ; 
Time,  our  keeper's  daily  giving 

Notice  of  our  liberty ! 


THE  BARD  OF  THE  BARROW. 
Am.— "The  Wounded  Hussar -." 

Sadly  sings  the  fond  Bard  of  the  deep-rolling  Barrow, 
From  whose  loving  bosom  his  Mary  has  flown  ; 

He  met  her  in  joy,  but  she  left  him  in  sorrow, 
And  now  he  complains  to  the  wild  waves  alone. 

Ah,  ne'er  did  I  dream  we  were  fated  to  sunder, 

As  we  stray'd  on  thy  wild  banks,  sweet  river,  by  thee ! 

Ah,  ne'er  did  I  dream  she  was  destined  to  wander, 
So  soon,  o'er  the  dark,  awful  ocean,  from  me  ! 

Oh !  breeze  of  the  West,  o'er  the  broad  billow  sighing, 
Have  you  kiss'd  her  white  brow,  as  she  stood  on  the  deck  ? 

Have  you  play'd  with  the  silk  of  her  fair  tresses  flying, 
And  courted  the  snow  of  her  soft  lily-neck  ? 

Have  you  brought  me  a  word  from  her  pearly  mouth,  naming 
The  name  of  the  dear  one  left  pining  behind  ? 

Have  you  brought  me  a  wreath  from  her  fair  ringlets  stream- 
ing? 
Oh  !  give  it  to  me,  and  I'll  bless  thee,  sweet  wind ! 

As  in  the  green  heart  of  some  rich  garden  flushing, 
All  radiant  in  flower,  grows  a  young  apple-tree ; 

With  bright  honey  drops  on  its  morning  leaves  gushing ; 
Oh  I  such  in  my  heart  were  you,  darling,  to  me  ! 

But  the  thoughts  of  the  soul  than  the  west  wind  are  fleeter, 

And  those  shall  pursue  and  caress  you  afar  ! 
The  pulse  of  affection  than  honey  is  sweeter, 

And  its  fond  thrill  shall  follow  wherever  you  are ! 


YOUNG  LOVE 

I  remember  the  day  I  first  greeted  my  love 
In  the  shade  of  yon  bank's  summer  bowrers  ; 

When  sweetly  we  linger'd  along  the  wild  grove, 
And  sat  in  its  bright  lap  of  flowers. 
13 


186  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  light  of  her  beauty  and  spell  of  her  looks, 

Still  the  eye  of  fond  mem'ry  enhances  ; 
Could  the  moralist  teach,  with  his  school-craft  and  books, 

The  sweet  language  I  learn'd  in  her  glances  ? 

Her  ringlets  of  darkness  were  darker  than  streams 

Flowing  blackly  thro'  snow-sheeted  heather  ; 
And  her  eyes  were  as  sun-gems  that  shoot  their  young  beams 

From  a  cloud's  showery  wing,  in  Spring-weather. 
And  her  small  foot  was  light  as  the  Cean-a-bhan's  plume 

On  a  fairy  bank's  sunny  moss  lying  ; 
And  her  voice,  like  a  gale  in  a  garden  of  bloom, 

O'er  a  bed  of  sweet  strawberries  sighing, 

Confiding  and  soft  was  the  press  of  her  hand — 

My  heart  ask'd  me  how  would  I  leave  her  ? 
Oh !  no,  I  replied,  for  a  prince's  command, 

Would  I  harbour  one  thought  to  deceive  her  ! 
The  thorns  of  care  on  our  life-path  may  grow 

Yet  while  beauty's  light  is  about  her  ; 
I'd  rather  reside  in  a  cot  poor  and  low 

Than  dwell  in  a  palace  without  her  ! 

The  mild  blush  of  bashfulness,  lit  by  a  smile, 

O'er  her  cheek's  berry  freshness  was  stealing  ; 
The  Spirit  of  light  that  presides  o'er  our  Isle, 

Could  not  look  such  sweet  language  of  feeling. 
Her  loveliness  fill'd  me  with  beautiful  dreams, 

And  I  think,  when  the  eve -winds  are  shaking 
Their  winglets,  in  song,  o'er  the  blossoms  and  streams, 

'Tis  her  lips'  fairy  music  that's  speaking. 


THE  BEAUTIES  OF  QUINSBURGH.* 

Round  Quinburgh's  wild  landscape  and  grove-skirted  meadows, 
Beams  the  blue,  cloudy  zone  of  the  grand  mountain-shadows, 
When  the  yellow-brow'd  sun,  to  his  sea-palace  going, 
Leaves  his  crimson-fringed  scarf  on  the  silent  hills  glowing. 
How  oft,  when  the  Spring- evening's  glory  was  fading, 
And  the  wind  in  the  woods  its  weird  melody  breathing, 
Have  I  sat  'mid  the  deep  shades,  wild  love-pictures  framing, 
Of  Heavens,  and  Edens,  and  Star-worlds  dreaming  ? 
And  the  grandeur  of  night,  as  it  deepen'd  around  me, 
With  a  wilder  delight  to  the  fairy  spot  bound  me  ; 
For  each  scene  with  a  magical  halo  seem'd  teeming, 
And  spell-visions  'rose  round  my  weird  fancy  beaming  ! 

*  A  beautifully  wooded  landscape  near  the  river  Shannon,  in  the  county 
Clare,  one  mile  from  Limerick. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  187 

O   Quinsburg!    bright   queen   of  sweet    landscapes,  I  love 

thee! 
For  the  golden  sky  always  looks  sunny  above  thee ! 
There  the  spirit  of  summer  brings  verdure  the  brightest, 
And  incense  the  purest,  and  dew-falls  the  whitest  I 
There  radiant  and  rich  in  thy  splendour,  for  ever, 
Transcendently  fair,  by  the  blue-gleaming  river, 
Thou  seem'st  as  full  of  enchantment  embowering 
Thy  green,  airy  lawns  and  thy  gardens  all  flowering ! 

How  sweet — from  the  frigid-eyed  world  retiring — 

To  gaze  on  the  beauty  of  Nature  inspiring  ! 

To  freshen  and  feast,  with  her  heaven-bright  charms, 

The  soul,  'till  it  melts  into  love  in  her  arms  ; 

Oh  !  the  heart  that  would  coldly  neglect  or  forsake  her, 

Is  alike  dead  and  cold  to  the  love  of  its  Maker ! 

There  are  many  who  look  on  his  glorious  creation, 

Without  one  loving  throb  of  the  soul's  adoration  ! 

The  humblest  flower  in  the  sunny  fields  blowing, 

Is  a  jewel  that  dropp'd  from  his  gracious  hand  glowing ! 

See  the  beautiful  gem — from  its  mossy  throne  take  it — 

View  it  well,  son  of  Art !  can  you  paint  it  or  make  it  ? 

Philosopher,  gaze  on  yon  broad  heaven  bending ! 

Can  thy  science  tell  were  'tis  beginning  or  ending  ? 

How  far  is  the  light  of  yon  fire -worlds  flowing  ? 

How  long  will  those  night-walking  splendours  be  going  ? 

Can  you  number  those  orbs  in  the  ambient  sky  glancing  ? 

Or  reckon  the  leaves  in  the  Summer- woods  dancing  ? 

Or  May's  vestal  flowers  and  the  dewdrops  that  feed  them  ? 

Yet  what  of  thy  love  for  the  Spirit  that  made  them  ? 

Round  Quinsburgh's  wild  landscape,  when  Summer  is  singing, 

For  the  love-child  of  Nature,  what  glories  are  springing  ? 

What  magic-toned  harmony  bursts  from  the  bowers, 

As  if  Spirit-tongues  spoke  in  the  leaves  and  the  flowers  ? — 

There  often  the  night  at  her  solemn  noon  found  me, 

With  her  ghost-haunted  shades  and  her  starry  robes  round 

me! 
Grand  pictures  from  high,  Angel-worlds  she  brought  me, 
And  the  God-praising  hymn  of  the  rolling  spheres  taught  me  I 

Enchanted  I  stray'd  by  the  shore's  moonlit  margin, 

Near  the  foam-bosom'd  Falls  o'er  the  weedy  rocks  charging* 

While  my  wild  spirit  danced,  like  a  bride  in  her  gladness, 

To  the  weird  monotone  of  their  war- shout  of  madness  ! 

As  they  tost  from  their  white  battle-plumes,  in  their  fleetnesd, 

Pearl-showers  o'er  the  vernal  shores  sleeping  in  sweetness  ; 

While  the  helmet  of  night,  with  its  vapour-crest  hoary, 

Blaz'd,  o'er  the  dim  earth,  in  a  fire-gush  of  glory ; 


188  LAYS   AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  the  streamers  danced  out  o'er  the  aerial  expansion, 
Like  golden  spears  shot  from  the  North's  icy  mansion ; 
And  the  meteors  red-eyed,  o'er  the  hazy  woods  springing, 
Seem'd  spirits  of  flame  thro'  the  Star-palace  winging ! 

How  wildly  romantic  looks  Quinsburgh,  when  over 
Her  bosom  of  flowers  falls  the  eve's  cloudy  cover  ? 
When  the  lightning's  blue  pinion  emblazons  the  highland, 
And  the  angry  flood  raves  round  St.  Thomas's  Island  ; 
When  the  dark  towering  crowns  of  the  elms  are  swinging, 
While  the  tide  and  the  tempest  in  concert  are  singing  ; 
And  the  fairies,  that  in  the  wild  hills  are  residing, 
On  circles  of  flame,  round  the  wood-tops  are  riding ; — 
Red  fire-globes  which  gleam  o'er  the  grove's  sylvan  barriers — 
Like  helmets  of  gold  on  the  dark  brows  of  warriors  ; 
While  the  river-mists  stream,  like  the  sea-maidens'  ringlets, 
Curling  round  the  tall  bowers,  on  the  blast's  rushing  winglets. 

Oh !  many  an  eve,  'mid  those  spell-wreathed  shadows, 
When  the  May-sunset  pour'd  its  red  flood  on  the  meadows  ; 
Have  I  stray'd  by  that  shore  where  the  flower-buds  were 

drinking 
Their  first  twilight-draught,  while  the  Day-king  was  sinking. 
And  the  brier-rose  and  meadow-sweet,  fragrantly  blooming, 
With  their  spirit  of  odour  the  lawns  were  perfuming ; 
And  the  hawthorns,  clouded  with  white  blossoms  tender, 
Look'd  like  Fairy-queens  wrapt  in  their  mantles  of  splendour. 

As  a  wizard,  I  sat  by  the  deep-sounding  torrent, 

'Till  Day's  yellow  banner  stream'd  forth  in  the  orient ; 

Like  the  first  bright-eyed  dawn,  its  resplendence  unsealing, 

Creation  in  all  its  new  grandeur  revealing. 

Then  rich  was  the  flow  of  the  forest-birds'  numbers, 

As  Nature,  in  music,  awoke  from  her  slumbers  ; 

I  thought  of  the  hymns  of  the  angel-choirs  splendid, 

When  the  Lord  from  his  work  of  Redemption  ascended. 

How  lovely  is  Quinsburgh,  when  morning  is  blushing 
On  her  dew-bathed  groves,  with  their  honey-tears  gushing ; 
And  their  boughs,  like  glad  minstrels,  singing  and  dancing, 
With  the  sun's  golden  flame  on  their  leafy  heads  glancing. 
With  her  lawns  of  mixt  silver  and  emerald  shining — 
With  flowers,  dropping  sweets,  in  her  gardens  reclining — 
With  her  odour-wing'd  zephyrs  thro'  fairy-shades  flowing — 
With  her  bright  orchard-treasures  luxuriantly  glowing— 
With  her  woodlands  reposing  in  sunbeams  serenest — 
With  her  parterres  the  sweetest  and  meadows  the  greenest, 
There  the  Bard's  spirit,  melting  in  grand  inspiration, 
Would  dream  itself  into  some  beauteous  creation  : 
There  the  saintly  soul,  kindling  with  holy  emotion, 
Would  soar  to  her  God,  in  a  trance  of  devotion. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  189 

Oft,  when  morn,  with  her  love-songs  and  diamond-bright 

showers, 
Was  walking  in  joy  o'er  this  Eden  of  flowers  ; 
The  eyes  of  my  soul  on  her  beauty  were  feasted, 
'Till  her  last  drop  of  dew  in  the  noon-flame  was  wasted. 
The  crystal-edged  clouds — the  bright  sapphire  hills  cresting, 
Leant  their  bosoms  of  gold  on  their  sunny  thrones  resting ; 
Whilst  flinging  young  gems,  from  their  fringes  of  whiteness, 
On  the  flowers  in  the  vales  laughing  up  at  their  brightness  ; 
Then  weaving  their  tints  of  soft-shadowy  vermilion 
And  yellow,  and  green — o'er  the  Day-god's  pavilion, 
In  a  grand  glistening  crescent  of  glory  extended 
They  shine — making  heaven's  sun-splendours  more  splendid. 

How  radiantly  then — when  the  summer  has  crown'd  it — 

Looks  Quinsburgh,  with  Nature's  enchantments  around  it ; 

Before  it  the  blue-bosom'd  river  extending, 

Behind  it  the  purple-brow'd  mountains  ascending ; 

Beside  it  rich  pastures  redundantly  flowing 

With  sweet  milk  and  honey,  and  golden  fruits  glowing  : 

While  the   Shannon's   clear    waves,    in  their  beamy  dance 

bright'ning, 
Flash  down  by  the  scene,  like  a  conflict  of  lightning. 


THE  HILLS  OF  BALLYCARR.* 

'Twas  morning,  and  the  sweets  of  May 

Enrich'd  the  balmy-scented  air ; 
When  pleasantly  I  took  my  way 

To  see  the  hills  of  Ballycarr  ; 
The  bright  sky's  beamy  summer-blue 
Hath  not  a  cloud-frown,  near  or  far, 
To  dim  its  glorious,  glistening  hue 
Above  the  hills  of  Ballycarr. 

Green  are  the  vales  of  Ballycarr ! 
Bright  are  the  plains  of  Ballycarr ! 
And  wild,  and  grand  as  fairyland, 
Appear  the  hills  of  Ballycarr ! 

Amid  the  purple-blossom'd  broom 

I  rested  on  the  mountain-height — 
Below  me  Nature  slept  in  bloom, 

Above  me  heaven  was  steep'd  in  light. 
The  winds'  sweet  dewy-breathings  seem'd 

The  whispering  of  a  maiden's  prayer, 
Or  spirit,  that  of  Eden  dream'd, 

Upon  the  hills  of  Ballycarr. 

Green  are  the  vales  of  Ballycarr,  &c. 

♦  Those  romantic  hills  form  a  grand  outline  to  the  scenery  of  Quins- 
burgh. 


190  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND. 

I  gazed  along  the  valley's  shade, 

O'er  glistening  rings  of  sun-bright  dew  ; 
When,  lo !  a  stately  peasant  maid, 

As  fair  as  morning,  met  my  view. 
Her  brow  was  like  a  cloudlet  white 

That  crescents  day's  majestic  star  ; 
Her  hair,  like  winter's  moonless  night 

Upon  the  hills  of  Ballycarr. 

Green  are  the  vales  of  Ballycarr,  &c. 

As  some  wild  vision  of  delight, 

I  look'd  upon  this  rustic  queen, 
Who  seem'd,  before  my  dreaming  sight, 

The  Angel  of  the  mountain-scene. 
An  Empress,  with  her  courtly  train, 

Hath  not,  'mid  all  her  pompous  glare, 
The  grace  and  state  of  step  and  mien 

That  mark'd  this  maid  of  Ballycarr. 

Green  are  the  vales  of  Ballycarr,  &c. 

Fair  are  the  maids  by  Lee's  green  side, 

With  silken  ringlets  dark  and  brown  ; 
And  bright  as  May,  by  Avon's  tide, 
Appear  the  girls  of  Mallow  town, 
But  Beauty  on  a  golden  throne, 

To  Fancy's  eye,  ne'er  look'd  so  fair, 
As  did  this  simple,  lovely  one, 
Among  the  hills  of  Ballycar. 

Green  are  vales  of  Ballycarr  ! 
Bright  are  the  plains  of  Ballycarr  ! 
And  wild,  and  grand,  as  fairyland, 
Appear  the  hills  of  Ballycarr ! 


THE  CITY  OF  THE  KINGS.* 

Scene. — The  Dalcassians  and  Eugenians,  assembled  at  a  feast 
in  the  Palace  of  Kinkora,  join  in  the  following  war-song, 
anticipating  the  battle  ofClontarf 

Strong  are  the  towers  of  Almhainf — and  Emaina's:}:  halls  are 

grand! 
But  Cormac's  radiant  palace§  stands  the  glory  of  the  land  ! 
Thro*  Eire  her  richest  tribute  to  Imperial  Tara  brings,  * 

Yet  valour's  royal  house  is  in  the  City  of  the  Kings. 

*  Cashel.  +  The  Palace  of  Fionn  and  the  ancient  Fenians. 

t  Palace  of  the  Red  Branch  Knights  in  Ulster.       ?  The  Palace  of  Cashel. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  191 

The  Red    Branch  Knights  were  fierce  in  war,  as  Saimer's 

bursting  wave — 
The  Clan-a-Morna*  mighty  in  the  combats  of  the  Brave  ; 
But,  like  eagles   in   a  lightning- cloud,    the    Clan-a-Deighaf 

springs, 
Impetuous  to  the  battle,  from  the  City  of  the  Kings. 

Unsheath  your  flaming  brands   of   death !   the  Dane   is    on 

our  shore — 
Rise,  glorious  race  of  Cormac  Cas  and  Royal  Eogain  More  ! 
Hew  down  the  pirate,  while  the  bard  the   "Eye  of  Battle" 

sings, 
And  return  with  new  glory  to  the  City  of  the  Kings  ! 

Then  draw  your  golden-hilted  swords,  rand  lift  our  Sunburst 
high  I 

Let  the  mountains  to  each  other  shout  your  dreadful  battle- 
cry  ;— 

When  Brian  sets  in  fierce  array  his  legions'  fiery  wings, 

Who  dare  withstand  Kinkora  and  the  City  of  the  Kings  ? 

We  have  war-steeds,  like  the   fire-wings  of  the   tempest  in 

its  flight, 
We  have  bosoms,  like  the  hill-crags  in  their  solid  mountain 

might ; 
We  have  hearts  within  those  manly  veins  a  well  of  valour 

springs, 
When  fighting  for  Kinkora  and  the  City  of  the  Kings ! 

We   love    Mononia's   sunny   vales — we   bleed   to   right   her 

wrongs — 
Our  bounding  souls  are  shared  among  her  daughters  and  her 

songs  ! 
We  have  graves  for  the  Invader  whom  the  thirst  of  rapine 

brings 
To  the  bright  plains  of  Kinkora  and  the  City  of  the  Kings ! 

We  love  our  Chiefs  and  Princes,  Priests  and  Brehons,  Bards 

and  all 
The  heroes  that  assemble  in  our  noble  palace-hall ; 
We  have  kine  and  silken  mantles,  festive-bowls  and  golden 

rings,— 
And  swords  to  guard  Kinkora  and  the  City  of  the  Kings  ! 

On,  like  torrents,  to  the  combat — sweep    the  spoilers  from 

our  fields  ! 
Hurl    the   lightning  of  your  axes  on   the  Northmen's  iron 
m         shields ! 
Let  your  javelins,  thro'  their  armour,  plunge  into  their  hearts' 

red  springs, 
And  shout  ye  for  Kinkora  and  the  City  of  the  Kings  ! 

*  The  Knights  of  Connaught.  +  The  Knights  of  Munster. 


192  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Oh !  to  see  our  axes  shattering  the  broad  targets  of  the  Dane, 

As  if  a  shower  of  meteor-stars  were  falling  on  the  plain ! 

Oh  !  to  hear — when  victory  o'er  our   ranks  has   spread  her 

crimson  wings — 
How  our  war-songs  shake  Kinkora  and  the  City  of  the  Kings ! 


KATHLEEN. 

Blue  are  the  eyes  of  my  Kathleen, 

Bright  are  her  long  yellow  ringlets  ; 
Airy  her  steps  on  the  village-green — 

Light  as  the  May-zephyr's  winglets. 
Warm  as  the  sun  on  the  mountain-lawn, 

Sweet  as  the  heath  of  Knocf eirin ; 
Tender  and  soft  as  the  Cean-a-bhan, 

Fleet  as  the  breezes  of  Erin. 

Loving  and  kind  is  my  Kathleen, 

Constant  and  true  to  her  duty  ; 
Faithful  and  fond  is  my  little-queen — 

Humble  yet  matchless  in  beauty. 
Pure  as  the  lights  that  adorn 

The  cold  starry  nights  of  November — 
Chaste  as  the  calm  beam  of  morn 

Upon  the  snow-hills  of  December. 

All  day,  by  the  rushing  blue  river, 

I  dreamt  of  my  Erin  and  thee,  love  ! 
For  you  are  the  beautiful  giver 

Of  many  a  sweet  thought  to  me,  love  ! 
I'd  rather  live  poor  in  my  Mother-land, 

With  thy  dear  young  smile  at  my  side,  love  ! 
Than  reign  a  high  prince  in  another  land, 

With  an  heiress  of  crowns  for  my  bride,  love  ! 

Soft  is  the  voice  of  my  Kathleen, 

Her  song  is  a  love-thrill  of  sweetness ; 
Like  a  spell-breathing  harp  of  a  fairy  queen, 

Touch'd  by  the  wind  in  its  fleetness. 
To  me  thou  art  honey  and  wine,  my  love  ! 

Girl  of  the  blue  eye  of  brightness, 
My  spirit  is  tangled  in  thine,  my  love, 

Queen  of  the  swan-neck  of  whiteness. 

She  is  so  gentle  and  dutiful, 

Heaven  is  smiling  about  her  ; 
She  is  so  bashful  and  beautiful 

Earth  hath  no  idol  without  her — 
All  around  Shannon's  green,  sunny  shades, 

Summer's  bright  hours' I  have  squander 'd — 
For  she  was  the  rose  among  many  maids, 

To  whom  my  heart's  longings  hath  wattid^f'd. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  193 


SOUL- ASPIRATIONS. 

Speak  kindly,  oh,  my  loved  one !  for  thy  kindness  is  to  me, 

Like  the  honied  voice  of  morning  in  the  flowering  apple- 
tree  ; 

And  my  craving  heart  has  hunger'd  for  thy  loving  accents 
long, 

With  a  poet's  burning  rapture  when  he  feels  the  fire  of  song  ! 

I  have  painted  glowing  glories  in  imagination's  hall, 

But  thy  heaven-surrounded   portrait  was   the   sun   that  lit 

them  all ; 
And  my  thoughts  of  earthly  splendour,  and   my  dreams  of 

worlds  above, 
Were  but  things  of  desolation  to  the  beauty  of  thy  love ! 

My  heart  was  as  a  worm,  when  it  wander'd  from  thee  first, 
Immersed  in  scenes  unhallow'd,  and  in  love  with  gilded  dust ; 
And  my  garden  knew  no   sunbeam,  and  its  weedy  springs 

were  mute, 
For  its  Maytime  brought  no  blossoms  and   its  harvest-time 

no  fruit ! 

Oh  !  let  thy  love-light  sun  it  into  buds  and  odours  sweet, 
'Till  my  gushing  spirit  melts  to  liquid  crystal  at  thy  feet ; 
And  I'll  hold  thee  in  the  chamber  of  the  palace  of  my  soul, 
As  the  lily  holds  the  dew-pearl  in  its  tender  snowy  bowl. 

And  I'll   seek  thee  in  the  temples  where  thy  banquets  of 

delight, 
With  the  glory-breathing  presence  of  thy  loveliness  are  bright; 
'Till  my  soul,  steep'd  in  the  beauty  and  the  radiance  of  thine 

own, 
Shall  be  as  a  sun-kiss'd  blossom,  with   no   cloud-shade  o'er 

it  thrown ! 

Lonely  strayed  I  in  the  desert,  in  the  fiery  noontide-hour, 
But  its  waters  were  all  bitter  and  its  dying  fruits  all  sour ; 
And  my  heart  was   parch'd  to   ashes,  like  the   grass  that 

round  me  lay, 
Where  the  flaming  eye  of  heaven   had   consumed  its  green 

away. 

And  my  thirst  was  as  a   furnace,  and  my  dreary  soul  was 

black 
As  the  inky  cloud  of  winter  on  the  mountain's  frozen  back  ; 
But  thy   glowing  love   pursued  me,   where   all   desolate  I 

stray'd, 
Like  the  golden-footed  morn  weeping  o'er  a  blighted  shade. 


194  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Then  the  fountains  of  thy  beauty  flash'd  before  my  spirit's 

eyes, 
And  the  brightness  of  thy  vineyards  where  the  summer  never 

dies  ; 
And  thy  gorgeous  palace-gardens  where  the  snow-pure  virgins 

rove, 
With  the  stainless  airs  around  them  fresh  with  breathings  of 

thy  love ! 

Ay !  when  Midnight's  burning  crescent  o'er  the  silvery  blue 

of  space, 
Was  shining  in  the  shadow  of  the  glories  of  thy  face  ; 
I  floated  on  the  pinions  of  the  angel  of  my  dreams, 
Into  the  glowing  Eden  of  thy  pastures  and  thy  streams  ! 

And  I  saw,  or  thought  I  saw  thee  in  thy  dazzling  bower  of 

light, 
With  eternal  sun-worlds  round  thee,  that  were  never  track'd 

by  night ; 
And  thy  face  was  as  the  rainbow  in  the  sapphire  arch  of  day, 
And  thine  eyes  had  living  heavens,  throng'd  with  spirits,  in 

their  ray. 

And  the  star-halls  of  resplendence,  where  thy  lightning- throne 

is  placed, 
Are  built  of  myriad  planets  on  unbounded  ether  based — 
But  the  floods  of  grandeur  faded  o'er  my  vision's  darken'd 

wings, 
And  I  'woke  on  earth's  black  bosom  where  the  worm  is  king 

of  kings. 


DEATH-SONG  OF  THE  BARDS  OF  TYRONE  AND 
TYRCONNELL.* 

AFTER  THE   BATTLE  OF  KINSALE,  A.D.,  1602. 

The  red  stars  flash'd  in  the  cold  blue  sky, 

And  the  ghostly  moon  look'd  sad  and  dim  ; 
And  the  cloudy  haze  of  the  midnight  hills, 

O'er  the  darken'd  vales  began  to  swim  ; 
And  a  tear  of  blood  from  each  red-eyed  star, 

On  night's  gray  bosom,  seem'd  bursting  forth  ; 
For  famine,  and  pestilence,  and  war, 

Had  done  their  grisly  work  in  the  North. 
The  herds  were  slaughter'd — the  bawns  were  burn'd, 

And  keep  and  castle  lay  overthrown  ; 
Wherever  the  startled  vision  turn'd, 

Wreck,  and  ruin,  and  death  were  strown — 

*  This  Death-drama  was  written  with  a  view  to  the  dire  and  devastated 
State  of  Ireland,  after  the  death  of  Red  Hugh  O'Donnell,  and  the  surrender 
Of  Hugh  O'Neill  to  Lord  Mountjoy.  The  resistance  of  these  two  great 
Chiefs  against  English'power  lasted  for  thirteen  years.  They  fell  by  native 
treachery,  and  the&isfake  of  the  Spaniards'  landing  at  Kinsale. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  195 

Havoc  and  vengeance,  fire  and  sword 

Had  ravaged  the  blacken' d  valleys  round ; 
The  living  fed  upon  the  dead, 

And  every  spot  was  charnel  ground  ; 
For  the  demon-hand  of  the  fierce  Mountjoy, 

Had  done  the  mission  of  England  well ; 
And  he  swept  the  plains  of  Green  Tyrone; 

Like  the  burning  fury  and  wrath  of  hell. 
The  soul  of  a  Nation  was  strangled  there, 

And  its  mightiest  sons  dispersed  or  slain — 
O'Neill  was  crush'd  in  his  lion-lair, 

And  the  brave  O'Donnell  was  dead  in  Spain. 
The  Judgment  Day  of  Eire  was  come, 

And  the  Angel  of  death  stood  on  her  shore ; 
And  the  lips  of  tyrants  proclaim'd  her  doom, 

"  Eire  of  thesKings,  a  Nation  no  more !" 
'Mid  the  deep-dark  woods  of  Glancolkeane,* 

Sat  two  gray  bards  on  a  rock  moss-grown  : 
One  was  Tyrconnell's  minstrel  old, 

And  one  the  Ard  Filea  of  high  Tyrone. 


Far  from  their  Chieftains'  plunder'd  towers, 

They  shunn'd  the  Invader's  sword  of  blood  ; 
Their  refuge  was  the  forest-bowers, 

Their  food  the  berries  of  the  wood. 
The  moonbeams  thro'  the  rocking  boughs, 

Gleam' d  fitful  on  their  coluns  white, 
That,  round  their  solitary  brows, 

Flow'd  on  the  wailing  winds  of  night. 
With  trembling  hands  their  harps  they  strung, 

For  one  last  tribute  to  the  Brave — 
With  burning  tears,  by  turns,  they  sung 

A  requiem  o'er  their  Country's  grave. 


BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

The  glory  of  Tyrone  is  fled — 

The  splendour  of  her  Prince  is  gone — 
The  regal  birds  of  Eire  are  dead — 

WeaK  is  the  race  of  Nial  and  Conn — 
The  sword  of  death  is  in  our  vales — 

The  hand  of  ruin  blots  our  homes — 
Our  hills  resound  with  grievous  wails — 

Our  fields  are  fill'd  with  reeking  tombs ! 


•  An  inaccessible  mountain  fastness  in  O'Kean's  Country  of  Araghty,  to 
which  Hugh  O'Neill,  with  the  remnant  of  his  clans,  retreated  after  his 
defeat  at  Kinsale. 


196  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

The  Banshee  chants  her  churchyard  song, 

In  Hugh  O'Donnell's  roofless  hall  ; 
And  desolation  sits  among 

The  broken  towers  of  Donegal  !* 
Tyrconnell  of  the  shields  of  light, 

And  royal  feasts  and  golden  bowls  ! 
Where  are  thy  flaming  arms  of  might  ? 

Thy  fiery  swords  and  valiant  souls  ? 
Thy  comely  prince  lies  distant  far, 

A  withering  corpse,  in  Spanish  clay — 
Our  guard -tower  in  the  day  of  war, 

Our  guide-star  of  the  battle's  sea ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

Oh !  burning  grief  and  galling  woe ! 

That  I  should  live  to  see  the  time 
That  laid  our  country  trampled  low, 

Beneath  the  heel  of  foreign  crime  ! 
Accursed  be  thy  plain,  Kinsale ! 

There  may  no  blade  nor  blossom  bud, 
But  every  field,  and  dell,  and  vale, 

For  ever  wear  the  hue  of  blood  ! 
May  herb  and  tree  to  ashes  rot, 

And  heaven  draw  a  veil  of  gloom, 
For  ever,  o'er  that  bloody  spot, 

Where  Erin's  freedom  found  a  tomb  ! 

God's  awful  midnight f  thunders  spoke 

The  doom  of  Erin,  o'er  thy  plain  ; 
His  lightning  wrote,  with  fiery  stroke, 

Our  Nation's  sentence,  "to  be  slain  !" 
The  mountains  heard  the  dire  decree, 

And  bow'd  their  heads,  with  echoing  groans  — 
The  tempest  told  it  to  the  sea — 

The  angels  wept  upon  their  thrones  ! 

BARD  OF  TYRCONNEL. 

Would !  I  had  fall'n  in  freedom's  fight, 
Brave  battling  by  my  Chieftain's  side  ! 

Would  !  I  had  never  seen  the  light, 
Or  in  my  mother's  arms  died ! 

*  The  once  magnificent  Castle  of  Donegal,  the  residence  of  Red  Hugh 
O'Donnell,  was  demolished  by  the  Chieftain  himself,  before  embarking  for 
Spain,  in  order  to  prevent  the  English  from  turning  it  into  a  garrison."— 
Four  Masters'  Annals. 

+  The  annals  also  say  that  for  several  nights  before  the  battle 
of  Kinsale,  the  most  awful  thunder,  lightning  and  tempest  prevailed.  It 
seemed  to  be  a  union  of  the  elements  chanting  a  requiem  for  the  approach- 
ing death  of  Ireland's  National  Independence. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  197 

Would,  that  my  sight  was  pluck'd  away, 

By  ravens,  from  each  bleeding  ball, 
Ere  I  had  lived  to  see  the  day, 

That  seal'd  my  wretched  country's  fall ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE, 

May  Freedom's  God  curse  Thomond's  land — 

May  every  hill-side  be  a  grave, 
Dug  by  a  foreign  tyrant's  hand, 

To  wrap  a  vile,  degenerate  slave  ! 
May  plague  and  famine,  sword  and  fire, 

Consume  her  to  the  rotten  heart, 
And  burn  her  lords  who,  false  to  Eire, 

Espoused  the  godless  spoilers'  part ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

The  fierce  O'Donnell  swept  the  plains 
Of  Thomond's  Earl,  and  slew  his  men ; 

And  loaded  with  degrading  chains 
The  shameless  traitor,  Inchiquin  ! 

Alas !  that  the  illustrious  blood 
v  Of  him  who  scourged  the  heathen  Danes, 

Should  turn,  a  vile  corrupted  flood, 
In  his  apostate  offspring's  veins  ! 

BARD  OF  TYRONE. 

'Twas  not  the  cruel  Saxon  sword 

That  wrought  my  Chieftain's  overthrow  ; 
Clontibret,  or  the  Yellow  Ford, 

Had  not  the  glory  of  the  blow ! 
'Twas  native  treachery  and  guile, 

And  Munster's  weakness,  traitor-sown ; 
That  vanquish'd  on  his  fathers'  soil, 

The  gallant  Chieftain  of  Tyrone ! 

BARD  OF  TYRCONNELL. 

'Twas  not  a  foreign  foeman's  hand 

That  laid  in  dust  my  brave  Hugh  Roe  ; 
Tyrconnell's  champion,  great  and  grand, 

Would  never  yield  to  mortal  foe  ! 
A  bleeding  heart  for  Erin's  woe, — * 

A  burning  soul  to  rive  her  chain, 
Consumed  his  life,  and  laid  him  low, 

Far  in  the  golden  land  of  Spain  ! 

*  "King  Philip  was  so  deeply  touched  by  Red  Hugh's  appeal,  that  he  gave 
orders  to  have  another  armament  got  ready  to  sail  for  Ireland ;  but  this  was 
countermanded,  owing  to  false  reports  of  O'Neill's  surrender.  The  fiery 
O'Donnell  was  on  his  way  again  to  the  King  to  urge  his  request,  but  his 
great  heart  broke,  and  he  died  suddenly.  He  was  buried  with  royal 
honours  ;  and  the  Chapter  of  Valladolid  holds  the  bones  of  as  stout  a 
warrior  as  ever  wielded  the  wand  of  Chieftaincy,  or  led  a  Clan  to  battle*"— 
John  Mitchell. 


198  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

BAUD  OF  TYRONE. 

Fierce  Hugh  O'Neill,  in  armour  clad, 

Was  like  an  ice-isle  on  the  deep, 
Directed  by  the  wrath  of  God, 

To  cleave  in  twain  some  guilty  ship  ! 
His  rage  was  like  the  fiery  blast 

That  burns  and  eats  the  springing  corn  ; 
His  glance,  like  heaven's  first  sun-ray  cast 

Into  the  golden  heart  of  morn ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

O'Donnell,  in  the  day  of  fight, 

Was  like  Loch  Saimer's  headlong  surge 
When,  rolling  in  its  reckless  might, 

It  tumbles  on  the  shore's  white  verge  ! 
His  sword  was  like  the  awful  light 

That  reddens  heaven  before  a  storm  ; 
The  eagle,  in  his  wildest  flight, 

Hath  not  the  vigour  of  his  arm  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

Rich  were  my  hero's  beamy  locks, 

Soft  curling  on  his  marble  neck  ; 
Like  wintry  mist  on  mountain-rocks, 

Where  lies  the  snow  without  a  speck  ! 
His  brow  was  like  a  summer-cloud, 

Asleep  in  morning's  arch  of  light ; 
The  eagle's  gaze  was  not  so  proud, 

The  bow  of  showers  was  not  so  bright ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

The  towering  pine  of  Donegal, 

That  spurns  the  vengeance  of  the  storm ; 
Was  not  so  graceful,  strong,  and  tall, 

As  Hugh  O'Donnell's  princely  form ! 
The  Autumn,  with  its  yellow  store, 

Was  not  more  generous  than  his  soul ; 
The  torrent,  in  its  dashing  power, 

Would  tamely  brook  as  much  control ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

My  Hugh  O'Neill  was  like  the  sun 

Of  a  spring  evening,  soft  and  clear, 
When  round  the  mountain's  yellow  throne, 

Thin,  silvery  dew-mists  fill  the  air  ! 
His  voice  was  as  the  gentle  fall 

Of  waters  in  a  floral  shade — 
His  soul  was  like  a  regal  hall, 

Where  gold  and  brilliant  gems  are  laid ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  199 


BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

O'Donnell's  hair  was  bright  and  fine, 

As  ringlets  of  a  fairy  girl ; 
His  cheek  was  like  rich-blushing  wine 

Pour'd  newly  in  a  bowl  of  pearl ! 
The  spirit  of  the  wintry  deep, — 

With  ocean's  sceptre,  dark  and  grand, 
'Waking  the  billows  from  their  sleep — 

Hath  not  his  proud  glance  of  command ! 


BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

The  day  when  Niall's  Red  Right  Hand* 

Stream'd  brightly  from  Dungannon's  tower, 
To  'rouse  the  vengeance  of  the  land, 

'Gainst  foreign  treachery  and  power ; 
I  saw  the  fierce  and  mighty  Hugh 

Surrounded  by  his  warrior  clan, 
Awful,  as  if  the  War-god  threw 

His  fiery  mantle  o'er  the  man ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

I  mind  the  day  when  proud  Red  Hughf 

With  all  Clan  Connaill  at  his  back  ; 
O'er  Connaught,  like  a  whirlwind  flew, 

While  fire  and  ashes  mark'd  his  track  ! 
The  war-flames  thro'  the  vales  blazed  red — 

And  Bingham's  cruel  brigand-horde, 
Like  stricken  bloodhounds,  headlong  fled 

Before  the  vengeful  Chieftain's  sword ! 


BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

My  soul  dreams  back  the  glorious  hours, 

When  from  Blackwater's  winding  shore, 
The  brave  O'Neill  swept — walls  and  towers — 

The  frowning  fortress  of  Portmore ! 
And  with  his  line  of  battle  set, 

All  strong  to  do  and  brave  to  dare, 
Smash'd  Norrey's  host,  at  Clontibret, 

And  trampled  England's  banner  there ! 

*  He  crossed  the  Saimaf  and  swept  through  Connaught,  like  a  hail-storm* 
and  put  to  death  every  man  who  could  speak  no  Irish.  Bingham,  the  cruel 
governor  of  the  province,  flew  before  him  and  shut  himself  up  in  his  fortress 
of  Sligo. 

t  "At  length  the  day  arrived  when  the  country,  with  stern  joy,  beheld  the 
Red  Right  Hand  of  O'Neill,  streaming  from  Dungannon's  towers,  waving 
defiance  to  the  Saxon  Queen." — John  Mitchell. 


200  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


BARD  OF  TYRCONNELL. 

Thro'  Annally's  broad  region  flamed 

The  stern  Hugh  Roe's  destructive  brand,* 
'Till  one  black-rolling  smoke-cloud  stream'd, 

O'er  heaven,  from  the  burning  land  ! 
And  never  did  the  wrathful  Conn, 

Or  Niall,  in  his  deadliest  ire, 
More  fiercely  o'er  a  realm  sweep  on, 

With  such  dread  wreck  of  sword  and  fire  ! 


BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

The  ghost  of  many  a  Saxon  Knight, 

Has  sigh'd  o'er  Drumfluich's  reeking  plain  ;t 
Where,  in  the  crimson  surge  of  fight, 

The  flower  of  England's  host  was  slain  ; 
Proud  Lord  De  Burgh  and  stern  Kildare, 

And  Vaughan  fierce,  and  Waller  brave, 
Sank  in  the  battle's  furnace  there, 

Where  half  their  army  shared  their  grave  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

I  saw  Tyrconnell's  Prince,  that  day, 

Begirt  with  waves  of  flame  and  blood, 
Like  some  dread  spirit  of  the  sea, 

Fierce  striding  'mid  the  stormy  flood. 
The  columns  waver'd  where  his  steel 

Its  cleaving  blows  of  vengeance  struck  ; 
Like  pine-woods  on  the  desert-hill, 

By  dark  November- tempests  shook ! 

BARD  OF  TYRONE. 

As  fire  devours  the  wither'd  grass, 

Of  Autumn,  in  a  sultry  vale  ; 
So  sank  the  battle's  reeling  mass 

Before  the  strong  sword  of  O'Neill ; 
And  Avon  Dhu's  gore-purpled  wave,  Z 

Retiring  from  his  crimson  banks, 
To  Loch  Naigh's  dancing  billows  gave 

Red  tidings  of  the  slaughter'd  ranks ! 

*  He  entered  the  Aimallys  where  O'Farrell  was  living  under  English 
domination,  and  so  fiercely  did  he  ravage  and  devastate  that  country, 
that  the  heavens  became  black  with  the  smoke  of  his  burnings. 

+  "The  Battle  of  Drumfluich,  in  which  O'Neill  gained  a  great  victory 
over  Lord  Kildare  and  the  English  army." — John  Mitchell. 

X  "  The  River  Blackwater,  which  flows  into  Lough  Neagh.  It  was  called 
'black?  on  account  of  the  many  disastrous  defeats  which  the  English 
suffered  there  at  the  hands  of  Hugh  O'Neill  and  his  intrepid  clansmen. "~ 
Moryson'8  Hist. 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  201 

BARD  OF  TYRCONNELL. 

Stern  Clifford  of  the  bloody  spears, 

In  Corsliabh  mountain-glen  lies  dead ; — 
On  his  fierce  host  of  musketeers, 

The  greedy  wolves  and  eagles  fed — 
There  haughty  England's  iron  might, 

By  Red  Hugh's  fury  was  consumed  ; 
The  mouldering  bones  of  many  a  knight, 

In  bush  and  fern,  lie  there  entomb'd  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

The  red  plain  of  the  Yellow  Ford, 

Shall  long  a  tale  of  slaughter  tell ; 
Where,  by  Tyrone's  victorious  sword, 

The  mighty  host  of  Bagnal  fell .' 
Dark  centuries  shall  renew  the  tale, 

And  future  Irishmen  shall  say, 
"  Great  was  the  triumph  of  the  Gael — 

God  send  us  such  another  day  I" 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

Grand,  god-like,  glorious  were  the  Brave, 

In  all  the  terror  of  their  arms — 
The  winter's  wrath,  the  mad  sea-wave — 

The  angry  heaven  convulsed  with  storms — 
The  whirlwind,  with  its  crest  of  flame — 

The  river  tearing  thro'  its  banks — 
To  them  were  harmless  things  and  tame, 

When  charging  on  the  Saxon  ranks  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

And  has  their  star  of  victory  set  ? 

And  has  their  sun  of  glory  fled  ? 
And  will  their  fallen  country  yet 

Remember  how  they  fought  and  bled  ? 
Oh,  proud  O'Neill  !  oh,  princely  Celt ! 

Oh  !  would  to  God  !  I  saw  you  die  ! 
Ere  you  in  low  submission  knelt, 

Before  that  bloody  fiend,  Mount  joy  !* 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

My  heart  is  like  a  serpent's  nest, 
All  full  of  bitterness  and  stings  ; — 

My  soul  is  troubled  and  distress'd 
Eor  thee,  O'Donnell,  son  of  Kings  ! 

*  "A.D.  1603.  Hugh  O'Neill,  now  sixty  years  of  age,  worn  with  care  and 
toil,  and  battle,  and  in  deep  sorrow  of  soul  for  the  miseries  of  his  faithful 
clansmen,  met  the  Lord  Deputy  Mountjoy,  in  peaceful  guise,  at  Mellifont, 
and  there,  on  bended  knees,  tendered  his  submission.  But  if  O'Neill  had 
known  that  the  Queen  was  dead,  he  probably  would  have  adopted  some 
other  policy  instead  of  surrendering,  as  he  afterwards  bitterly  repented  his 
act  when  he  heard  of  her  demise."— John  Mitchell. 

14 


202  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  tho'  no  Irish  hymn,  nor  prayer, 
Was  breathed  o'er  thy  winding-sheet 

I'd  rather  see  thee  lying  there, 
Than  kneeling  at  a  tyrant's  feet ! 

BARD  OF  TYRONE. 

O'Neill's  high,  kingly  soul  was  proud, 

And  towering  as  his  Red  Right  Hand  ; 
'Twas  for  his  people's  sake  he  bow'd, 

To  stay  the  spoiler's  murderous  brand ! 
When  heaven's  face  is  all  on  fire, 

From  east  to  west,  from  south  to  north, 
The  haughty  eagle  must  retire, 

For  refuge,  to  the  hateful  earth  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

Oh  !  had  the  brave  O'Donnell  lived, 

O'Neill  would  still  be  nobly  great ; 
And  bleeding  Ireland  would  be  saved, 

Despite  of  England,  hell,  and  fate  ! 
The  key-stone  of  her  cause  was  gone, 

The  proud  arch  could  no  longer  stand  y— 
God,  for  the  race  of  Niall  and  Conn, 

Holds  some  black  destiny  in  hand ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

Yes,  he  has  made  a  ruthless  scourge 

Of  the  relentless  and  unjust ; 
The  crimson  sins  of  Eire  to  purge, 

And  bow  her  glory  to  the  dust ! 
The  brothers'  blood  by  brothers  shed, 

For  ages  on  her  reeking  plains  ; 
Hath  roused  his  anger,  burning  red, 

To  brand  our  country's  brow,  like  Cain's  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

Now  on  her  bier  of  slaughter  dead, 

In  ashes,  stark,  deform'd,  she  lies  ; 
The  grandeur  of  her  proud  face  fled — 

Quench'd  is  the  glory  of  her  eyes  ! 
Oh,  Lady  of  illustrious  seed ! 

Resplendent,  queenly  Innisfail ! 
Art  thou,  at  last  a  broken  reed, 

Accurst,  beneath  a  monster's  heel  ? 

BARD  OF  TYRONE. 

We  weep  for  thee,  0  fallen  One  ! 

For  thou  hadst  many  virtues  bright ! — 
Thy  faults,  like  spots  upon  the  sun, 

Were  halo'd  with  a  glow  of  light  ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  203 

Thy  open,  hospitable  hand 

Was  filled  with  plenteous  gifts  for  all ! — 
Oh !  bright-soul'cl,  golden-hearted  Land ! 

How  dark  and  dreadful  is  thy  fall  ? 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

Within  her  once  gay  palace  halls, 

The  purple-crested  thistle  springs ; 
And  o'er  the  chilly,  oozing  walls 

The  raven  shakes  his  ebon  wings  ; 
The  spirit  of  the  past  is  there, 

Dark,  weeping  o'er  the  ruins  gray  ; 
Even  silence  seems  to  shed  a  tear 

Upon  the  shroud  of  their  decay  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

Our  noble  forests  ar'    r 1  down — 

Our  lordly  CastL       .,    ^ssr  stand ; 
And  hill  and  hamlet,  vale  and  town, 

Show  death -marks  of  the  spoiler's  hand  !* 
„  Our  bright  plains  into  graveyards  turn'd — 

The  altars  of  our  God  defiled  ; — 
Our  virgins  stain'd — our  dwellings  burn'd — 

Our  warriors  murder'd  or  exiled  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

I  saw  the  grim  wolves  o'er  their  meal 
Of  grisly  trunks  their  white  tusks  gnash ; 

I  saw  gaunt  children,  in  the  vale, 

Devouring  their  dead  mother's  flesh  !f 

*  "  Tyrone  was  so  dreadfully  ravaged  by  fire  and  sword,  that  no  tongue 
or  pen  could  depict  the  terrors  which  swept  that  fair  region,  with  devastat- 
ing vengeance.  The  horrible  excess  of  burning  and  slaughter  which  took 
place  there,  in  the  summer  of  1603,  under  Lord  Mountjoy,  Carew,  and  Chi' 
Chester,  infinitely  surpassed  the  worst  excesses  of  the  heathen  Danes  or  of 
the  Bastard  Norman,  himself."— John  Mitchell. 

t  This  thrilling  circumstance  is  mentioned  by|John  Mitchell  in  his  "Life 
of  Hugh  O'Neill."  He  also  quotes  the  remarks  of  Morrison,  on  the  awful 
condition  to  which  the  people  of  the  North  were  reduced:  "No  spectacle 
was  more  frequent  in  the'ditches  of  towns,  and  especially  of  wasted  countries 
than  to  see  multitudes  of  the  poor  people  dead,  with  their  mouths  all  coloured 
green  by  eating  nettles,  docks,  and  all  things  they  could  rend  up  above  the 
ground,  &c."  A  new  mode  of  warfare  planned  by  artful  Cecil  and  carried 
out  by  Lord  Mountjoy.  They  employed  their  soldiery  to  burn  and  trample 
the  growing  crops  into  the  earth,  and  slaughter  the  cattle  in  the  fields  and 
on  the  hills,  leaving  the  carcasses  to  rot  and  breed  pestilence.  By  this 
diabolical  process  they  created  a  wide-spread  famine  which  ravaged  the 
country  so  dreadfully  that  a  thousand  dead  bodies  could  be  counted  from 
Toom  to  Tulloghoge,  reduced  to  gaunt  skeletons,  and  many  of  the  living 
fed  upon  the  corpses,  until  Ulster  became  one  horrid  charnal-house  to  man 
and  beast. 

Thus  ended  a  war  that  cost  England  nearly  200,000  men,  and  twenty 
millions  of  her  treasure,  and  from  the  face  of  Ireland  swept  away  more 
than  one  half  of  the  population. 


204  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

I  saw,  around  the  desert  wastes, 
Women,  and  half- expiring  men, 

Crawling  on  knees  and  hands,  like  beasts, 
To  feed  on  grass  and  herbage  green  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

Near  yonder  ravine's  gloomy  mouth, 

Six  lovely  maidens  famish'd  lie  ; 
The  ravens  pluck' d  their  blue  eyes  out, 

And  hardly  gave  them  time  to  die, 
Before  they  dipt  their  black  beaks  foul 

Into  those  starry  orbs,  once  bright, 
Where  purity's  own  seraph  soul 

Was  swimming  in  their  wells  of  light ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

Every  dismal  wir '"'      ^  hear, 

Is  pregnant  witn  ..^ne  dying  breath  ; 
Every  sound  that  strikes  our  ear, 

Echoes  the  awful  moan  of  death ! 
Methinks  the  stars  are  dead  men's  eyes, 

Red-peering  thro'  the  ghastly  gloom  ; 
And  every  black-cloud,  in  the  skies, 

Appears  a  harbinger  of  doom ! 

BARD   OF   TYRONE. 

0  God  !  by  whose  mysterious  will, 
Our  perished  country  thus  lies  low, 

We  pray  to  thy  great  mercy  still, 
^  To  break  the  sword  that  gave  the  blow  ! 

To  look,  with  pity  from  thy  throne, 
Upon  our  anguish  and  our  fears, 

And  hear  a  martyr'd  Nation's  groan, 
Prostrate  in  ashes,  blood  and  tears  ! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

0  God !  who  cleft  the  deep  Red  Sea, 

And  open'd,  thro'  the  mighty  mass 
Of  waves,  a  safe  and  solid  way 

To  let  thy  chosen  people  pass ! 
Look  on  thy  faithful,  bleeding  Eire, 

With  worse  than  Pharaoh -bondage  bow'd ! 
And  o'er  the  gloom  of  her  despair 

Show  thy  fire-pillar  thro'  the  cloud ! 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

0  God !  whose  vengeful  arm  o'erthrew 
The  crime-stain' d  city's  gilded  towers ! 

0  God  !  whose  wrathful  angel  slew 
The  dark  Assyrian's  legion-powers ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  205 

0  God !  who  succours  the  oppressed ! 

Behold  our  country's  misery ! 
Powerless  and  stricken  in  the  dust, 

She  turns  her  dying  eyes  to  Thee! 

BARD   OF  TYRCONNELL. 

0  God!  whose  lightning-anger  blaz'd 

Down  in  a  flood  of  fiery  rain, 
And,  with  dire  vengeance,  wrapt  and  razed 

The  guilty  cities  of  the  plain ! 
Oh !  bounteous  and  unbounded  Godj[ 

Behold  our  country  reeking  red !    ' 
Oh!  let  her  agony  and  blood 

Weigh  heavy  on  the  oppressor's  head. 

BARD   OF  TYRONE. 

0  God !  whose  bleeding  shoulders  bore 

The  cross  to  save  man's  worthless  race! 
0  God!  whose  sacred  flesh  was  tore 

By  mockers  and  blasphemers  base ! 
Pity  our  torn,  tortured  land, 

By  renegade  apostates  slain ! — 
Oh!  stretch  thy  all-redeeming  hand, 

To  raise  her  from  the  grave  again ! 


EILEEN'S  DREAM. 

On  the  wild,  breezy  banks  of  the  murmuring  Lora, 

The  crimson-tinged  banner  of  sunset  was  thrown ; 
When  the  Flower  of  Glencarrig,  sweet  Eileen  MacCaura, 
,'v  By  the  echoing  river,  sat  weeping  alone. 

No  more  in  the  halls  of  her  father  delighted, 

She  joined  in  the  dance  of  the  light-footed  dames; 

For  grief — and  the  image  of  him  whom  she  slighted, 
Had  darken'd  her  spirit  and  clouded  her  dreams. 

Her  fair  bosom  rivall'd  the  dark  river's  sobbing, 
And  the  twilight  blast  sigh'd,  like  a  dirge,  in  her  ears ;  ^ 

As  she  press'd  her  white  hands  on  her  sad  temples  throbbing, 
And  bent  her  pale  face  in  a  passion  of  tears. 

She  mark'd  not  the  shades  growing  denser  and  deeper, 
As  the  gray  wings  of  eve  turn'd  black  in  the  west ; 

For  the  shadow  that  lay  on  the  soul  of  the  weeper, 
Was  dark  as  the  ghost-cloud  that  mantles  night's  breast. 

"My  Owen!"  she  cried,  "there  was  never  a  raven 
Show'd  a  plume  to  the  sun,  like  the  rings  of  your  hair ! 

And  there  is  not  a  beam  on  the  star-brow  of  heaven, 
More  pure  than  your  heart — than  your  bosom  more  fair! 


206  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

"Return,  oh!  return  to  thine  Eileen  MacCaura! 

'Twas  my  pride,  not  my  heart,  that  was  cruel  to  thee! 
And  while  I  pretended  to  smile  at  thy  sorrow, 

The  keen  shaft  recoil' d  with  a  vengeance  on  me! 

"I  knew  you  were  faithful — I  felt  that  you  loved  me, 
And  have  I  rewarded  thy  fondness,  with  pain! 

But,  oh!  could  the  tears  of  a  wretched  heart  move  thee, 
Thou  would'st  forgive  me,  and  come  back  again!" 

Her  voice  became  faint — for  a  wild  blast  rush'd  shrieking 
Thro'  the  shrill-whistling  briers,  like  a  lost  Spirit's  sigh ; 

And  the  waves,  in  their  foamy  march,  dismally  breaking, 
Seem'd  to  sink  to  their  caves,  with  a  hoarse,  ghostly  cry. 

The  black,  heavy  clouds  o'er  the  firmament  drifted, 

Like  islands  of  gloom  in  the  ocean  of  space  ; 
And  the  sad,  sullen  moon,  as  they  lazily  shifted, 

Thro'  their  wind-torn  bosoms  half-show'd  her  white  face. 

Who  stands  on  the  bank  near  the  desolate  maiden? 

'Tis  Owen — the  night-shades  seem'd  bound  on  his  brow — 
An  angel,  eternally  banish'd  from  Eden, 

Could  only  appear  like  her  sad  lover  now: 

A  moment  the  winds  ceased  their  monotone  weary, 

A  moment  the  voice  of  the  waters  was  still ; 
And  a  faint,  transient  gleam  from  the  night-lamp,  so  dreary, 

Lit  his  cheek,  like  the  white  freezing  haze  of  the  hill. 

'Tis  he — but  she  feels  a  cold  trembling  of  terror, 
Like  frosty  wind,  over  her  heart-fountains  creep  ; 

'Tis  he — but  he  breathes  not  a  word,  nor  moves  near  her, 
And  his  face,  like  the  moon,  seems  in  silence  to  weep. 

"Oh !  speak,  dearest  youth !" — half  in  sorrow  and  gladness, 
"Forgive  me,  and  pity  my  folly!" — she  said  ; 

'But  he  only  replied,  in  a  strange  tone  of  sadness, 
"Farewell!  'till  we  meet  in  the  land  of  the  dead!" 

Again  the  bleak  wind's  dreary  whistle  resounded, 

And  the  clouds,  like  black  spectre-ships,  swam  o'er  the  sky ; 

And  the  waves,  with  an  angry  shout,  sullenly  bounded, 
And  the  lonely  owl  shriek' d  'mid  the  darkness  on  high. 

Affrighted  she  gaz'd  on  the  brow  of  her  lover, 
And  death  in  the  gloom  of  its  shadow  was  there ; 

A  moment  around  her  his  form  seem'd  to  hover, 
Then  wasted  away,  like  a  vapour  in  air. 

As  the  wind-spirit's  wrath  blights  the  young  summer-willow, 
Or  the  dark-tassell'd  reed  by  the  marge  of  the  lake  ; 

Young  Eileen  sank  down  by  the  surf-cover'd  billow, 
As  powerless,  defenceless,  as  slender  and  weak. 


LAYS  AND  LEG^NBS  OF    THOMOND.  207 

The  purple-robed  morn  was  radiantly  looking, 

With  warm  tears  of  joy,  on  the  death-throes  of  night ; 

And  the  sun  in  his  diadem'd  grandeur  was  walking 
The  clear,  crystal  hall  of  his  palace  of  light. 

And  Eileen  awoke,  with  a  wild  look  of  wonder. 

And  a  prayer  on  her  virgin-lips  blessing  God's  name ; 

For  the  morn,  in  her  own  downy  couch,  laugh'd  around  her 
And  her  nightly  adventure  was  all  a  dark  dream. 

"Now  surely!"  she  murmur'd,    " 'Twas  God  sent  the  warn- 
ing, 

<4  I'll  take  it— away  thou  false  demon,  dark  pride  ! 
And  ere  the  sun  pencill'd  another  bright  morning, 

Young  Owen  and  Eileen  were  bridegroom  and  bride ! 

KING  MAHON  AND  OEBHINN,  THE  BANSHEE. 

A  LEGEND   OF  CRAIGHLEA.* 

When  the  glory  of  eve  in  the  red  west  was  dying, 

With  its  last  yellow  sheet  on  the  mountain's  breast  lying, 

King  Mahon  ascended  Craighlea's  rocky  height, 

Where  the  black  heather  slept,  half  in  darkness  and  light ; 

The  ebony  clouds  spread  their  curtains  of  gloom, 

O'er  the  wild,  dreary  desert  of  fern  and  broom  ; 

And  no  echo  was  heard  on  the  plain  or  the  hill, 

For  all,  save  the  deep-sounding  river,  was  still. 

But  why  does  the  monarch,  unarm'd  and  alone, 
Climb  the  tall,  misty  crags  of  the  hill's  airy  throne, 
At  this  weird,  solemn  hour  when  the  spirit  of  light 
Lies  dead  at  the  desolate  portals  of  night? 
None  knows— for  he  stole  unobserved  from  the  hall, 
When  the  red  twilight  shades  were  beginning  to  fall- 
But  his  clansmen  believed  that  he  often  went  there, 
At  night,  to  commune  with  a  Spirit  of  air. 
There's  a  gray  rock  that  rests  in  the  deep  heather-brown, 
Like  a  huge  jewel  set  in  the  mountain's  high  crown  ; 
And  there  the  old  Bards  and  the  Seanachies  said, 
White  Oebhinn,  the  Banshee,  her  wild  dwelling  made. 
And  there,  when  the  night-silver  gleam'd  on  the  heath, 
She  dismally  chanted  her  anthem  of  death ; 
But  more  ominous  still,  on  the  eve  of  a  fray, 
Was  the  soul  of  grief's  language  express'd  in  her  lay. 

The  dark,  topmost  summit  King  Mahon  has  gain'd, 
Where  one  dim  streak  of  twilight  yet  faintly  remain  d  ; 
And  he  faced  the  gray  rock  where  a  white  figure  shone, 
Like  a  queen's  marble  bust  seated  tall  on  the  stone  : 

*  On  the  summit  there  is  a  large  lock,  called  Oebhinn's  Chair.     See 
note,  p.  41. 


208  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND. 

A  cold,  thin-blue  drapery  of  mountain-haze  roll'd 
Round  her  form,  which  dimly  appear 'd  thro'  its  fold ; 
But  she  look'd  indistinct  as  the  dull,  wat'ry  rim 
Of  the  moon,  when  around  it  the  rain-vapours  swim. 

Her  gossamer-mantle  behind  her  flow'd  light, 
As  a  snow- veil  flung  loose  on  the  shoulders  of  night ; 
And  her  eyes,  thro'  the  wave  of  the  mist-shadows  gray, 
Seem'd  starlight  reflected  on  clear,  frozen  spray. 
A  moment  the  King  on  the  White  Spirit  gazed, — 
From  his  proud  brow  his  eagle-plumed  barrad  he  raised, 
And  said,  in  the  sweet-sounding  tongue  of  the  Gael, 
"  Hail!  Queen  of  the  Hill !  gentle  Oebhinn  !  all  hail !" 

"  To-morrow  we  go  on  a  mission  of  blood, 

To  feast  our  red  swords  on  the  plain  of  Sulchoid  ; 

The  Invaders  against  us  have  gather'd  their  powers, 

From  the  forts  of  Ath  Cliath*  and  Luimneach's  towers. 

And  tell  me,  0  mournful  herald  of  fate  ! 

How  many  proud  chieftains  shall  enter  death's  gate  ? 

Or  who  in  the  field  are  destined  to  prevail — 

The  Race  of  the  Hillsf  or  the  Tribe  of  Clan  Tail  ?f 

The  hero  ceased  speaking,  and  Oebhinn  replied, 
In  a  voice,  like  the  wind  on  the  winter  hill-side, 
"  Ere  the  eve  of  the  morrow  shall  blush  o'er  the  wave, 
Thy  fame  shall  be  great,  0  King  Mahon,  the  brave  ! 
The  Raven  shall  fall,  and  the  tribe  of  Clan  Tail, 
'Gainst  the  sons  of  the  hills,  in  the  field  shall  prevail ; 
And  now,  since  the  fate  of  the  morrow  is  known, 
Retire,  0  King  Mahon  !  and  leave  me  alone  ! " 

Then  the  mists  gather'd  deeply  and  cover'd  the  spot  ^ 
'Round  the  cold,  gloomy  stone  where  the  White  Spirit  sate; 
And  the  warrior  retreated,  and  heard,  in  the  wind, 
Low  moans  and  deep  sighs  from  the  summit  behind. 
With  the  eye  of  an  eagle  and  foot  of  a  fawn, 
He  traversed  the  hill  to  the  wide  palace-lawn  ; 
And  enter'd  the  hall  where  the  sons  of  the  sword 
Were  feasting  their  souls  with  the  joys  of  the  board. 

Then  the  nobles  all  'rose,  with  full  bowls  in  their  hands, 

And  they  hail'd  the  high  Prince  of  the  gold-hilted  brands  ; 

And  he  proudly  demanded  the  sons  of  the  lyre, 

For  a  song  on  the  valorous  deeds  of  his  sire. 

From  the  regal  orchestra  of  minstrels  the  first, 

A  hundred  wild  harps  into  melody  burst ; 

And  they  sang  the  brave  triumphs  of  mighty  Clan  Tail, 

O'er  the  fierce  Ocean-kings  on  the  plain  of  Singail !  § 

*  Dublin. 

t  The  Northmen  or  Danes  were  called  by  the  Irish  "  The  Sons  of  the 
Hills  !  " 
t  The  Dalcassians  often  assumed  this  cognomen. 
\  i.e.,  Singland  near  Limerick  City,  where  Kennedy,  the  father  of  Brian 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  209 

But  a  strange  white-hair'd  minstrel  appear'd  'mong  the  rest, 
And  six  radiant  colours  adorn'd  his  vest ; 
His  face  and  attire  were  unknown  in  the  hall, 
Yet  his  harp  spoke  the  loudest  and  sweetest  of  all. 
When  he  sang  of  the  field  and  the  glory  of  kings, 
The  clang  of  the  battle  burst  fierce  from  the  strings  ; 
And  the  chiefs  felt  a  martial  blaze  burning  their  souls, 
And  they  shook  their  broad  swords  o'er  the  bright  banquet- 
bowls. 

Then  the  battle-hymn  suddenly  changed  to  a  wail, 
Like  the  Banshee's  wild  dirge  for  a  prince  of  the  Gael ; 
The  gray  swans  of  Lir,  in  their  watery  retreat, 
Ne'er  chanted  their  night-song  so  mournfully  sweet. 
And  the  listeners  grew  pale,  and  sat  still,  as  if  death 
Had  flung  on  their  features  the  frost  of  his  breath ; 
For  an  accent  was  heard  in  each  grief-speaking  string, 
Saying,  "  Short  is  the  date  of  thy  glory,  0  King  ! " 

Like  an  insulted  god,  'rose  the  royal  Dalcassian, 

His  lordly  brow  black  with  the  cloud-gloom  of  passion  : 

"Bring  that  minstrel  to  judgment  before  me  !!'  he  cried, 

"Spare  thy  judgment,  0  Monarch  !"  the  minstrel  replied ; 

"  Red  victory  shall  sit  on  thy  helmet  to-morrow — 

A  morning  of  joy  and  an  evening  of  sorrow  ; 

But  if  thou  would 'st  live,  take  the  warning  I  bring, 

Go  not  to  the  feast  with  the  yellow-hair' d  King  !  " 

He  waved  his  thin  hand  to  the  guests,  and  withdrew, 
Like  the  mist  of  a  river  dissolving  from  view  ; 
And  a  pensive  sheen  spread,  like  the  lustre  of  snow, 
As  each  chief  made  the  sign  of  the  cross  on  his  brow. 
The  Clarseachs  were  hush'd,  and  the  banquet  was  o'er, 
And  the  sound  of  the  dancers'  feet  died  on  the  floor — 
The  warriors  and  princes  retired  for  the  night, 
To  take  brief  repose  and  prepare  for  the  fight. 


THE  BATTLE  OF  SULCHOID. 

(a.  d.  968.)  • 

The  morn  was  red  on  Camailte's  head, 

And  the  woods  in  the  spring-gale  trembled  ; 
When  the  Danish  powers,  from  their  raths  and  towers, 

On  the  plain  of  the  battle  assembled ; 
And  their  hostile  shout  thro'  the  skies  rang  out, 

As  their  squadrons  rapidly  muster'd ; 
And  their  flame-like  spears  were  as  fire-crown'd  stars 

O'er  the  blue  brow  of  midnight  cluster'd. 

Born,  aided  by  Callaghan,  King  of  Minister,  O'Riordan,  O'Malley,  O'Neill, 
Creagh,  and  several  other  great  chiefs,  defeated  the  Danes  of  limerick,  and 
slew  their  principal  commanders  in  single  combat. 


210  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

There  was  Muiris  the  Dark,  like  his  own  tall  bark* 

Moving  proud  on  her  sea-kiss'd  pinion — 
There  was  Torrell  as  fierce  as  the  fire-eyed  shark 

Seeking  prey  in  his  briny  dominion  : 
There  was  Teithill,  black-brow'd  as  a  hailstone  cloud 

O'er  a  frozen  desert  impending ; 
And  Bernard,  as  tall  as  a  castle  wall — 

With  his  locks  to  his  girdle  descending. 

All  giants  grim,  in  body  and  limb, 

Mighty,  and  stern,  and  fearless  ; 
Train'd  and  skill'd  in  the  red  war-field — 

In  arms  and  actions  peerless  ; 
The  pride  and  boast  of  the  pirate-host, 

As  leaders  and  champions  daring  ; 
Whose  Raven-wingsf  were  the  terror  of  kings, 

Save  the  chiefs  and  the  kings  of  Erin. 
Like  rav'nous  beasts,  they  slew  monks  and  priests, 

And  their  banquets  were  flames  and  ruins ; 
And  wherever  they  trod,  the  burning  sod 

Told  a  fiery  tale  of  their  doings  : 
Their  pond'rous  mail  was  of  hardest  steel, 

And  steel  gloves  did  their  hands  environ ; 
For  the  strength  of  their  bone  was  as  flinty  stone, 

And  their  sinews  as  rods  of  iron. 
From  the  golden  plains  of  their  bright  domains, 

All  Thomond's  fierce  clans,  with  their  leaders, 
Like  the  headlong  sweep  of  their  hill-floods  deep, 

Are  coming  to  meet  the  invaders  ; 
And  King  Mahon  strides  on  in  the  shining  van, 

With  his  Three  Yellow  LionsJ  before  him  ; 
And  his  battle- vest  on  his  towering  breast, 

And  his  proud  eagle-plume  nodding  o'er  him. 

His  helmet's  blaze  was  like  the  rays 

Of  the  sun  on  a  stormy  even', 
As  he  haughtily  trod,  like  an  angry  god 

'Mid  the  clouds  of  a  burning  heaven  : 
And  the  fiery  sheen  of  his  host  was  seen, 

Like  morn  on  the  white  surge  glancing, 
When  the  wave-array  of  the  wrathful  sea, 

Is  in  terrible  majesty  dancing. 

*  "  The  four  Danish  leaders  mentioned  in  this  stanza,  were  lords  of  Lime- 
rick, "Waterford,  Cork,  and  Dublin,  men  of  great  personal  strength,  bravery, 
and  military  skill.  The  field  of  Sulchoid  lies  about  nine  miles  north-east  of 
Limerick." — Keating's  Hist. 

t  The  Danish  Banner.    A  raven  with  extended  wings. 

%  The  Banner  of  the  Dalcassian  Kings.  Mahon  was,  at  the  time  of  the 
Battle  of  Sulchoid,  King  of  Leath  Mogha,  i.e.,  the  entire  southern  half  of 
Ireland.  ,His  brother  Brian,  the  future  hero  of  Clontarf,  was  then  Prince 
of  Thomond.  It  was  the  great  importance  and  brilliancy  of  the  victory  of 
Sulchoid  that  inspired  the  Eugenian  chiefs  with  envy  against  Mahon,  whick 
ultimately  led  to  his  murder.  —Annals  of  Thomond 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND,  21 1 

The  holy  Mass  for  the  race  of  Cas, 

In  the  pale-ray' d  dawn  was  offer'd ; 
And  the  fierce  Northmen  to  their  God  Odin, 

Their  prayers  for  victory  proffer'd  : 
While  the  war-bards  strung  their  harps  and  sung 

The  bold  Ross  Catha  inspiring  ; 
And  every  man  to  the  charge  rush'd  on, 

With  vengeance  and  vigour  untiring. 

They  swept  o'er  the  ground,  like  the  mighty  sound 

Of  floods  from  a  hundred  mountains ; 
And  the  mad  steel  tore,  with  a  thirsty  roar, 

To  the  depths  of  their  hearts'  red  fountains — 
The  wound-floods  swell'd  and  the  armour  knell'd, 

As  the  spears,  like  fire-serpents,  assail'd  it ; 
And  each  broad  shield  fell,  like  a  broken  shell, 

From  the  quivering  arm  that  held  it. 

The  gleaming  blades  danc'd  and  quiver'd,  like  reeds, 

As  if — with  their  red  edges  blunted — 
They  reel'd  up  drunk  from  each  cloven  trunk, 

To  grasp  the  fierce  souls  which  they  hunted  : 
And  the  helmets  strong  groan'd  a  horrid  song, 

O'er  the  shrill  war- slogan,  uproarious  ; 
While  the  * '  sparths  "  mock'd  the  croon  of  the  storm's  tune, 

And  the  swords  shriek'd  an  iron  chorus. 

King  Mahon  first  through  the  centre  burst, 

The  steel-clad  chiefs  o'erthrowing  ; 
And  he  swept  them  away,  like  the  dark-brown  hay, 

When  the  harvest  sons  are  mowing  ; 
And  the  crash  of  his  stroke,  like  a  falling  oak, 

Was  heard  o'er  the  furious  clangor, 
As  he  broke  thro'  the  ranks,  like  a  flood  thro'  its  banks, 

In  the  strength  of  its  wintry  anger. 

Fierce  Torrell  came,  like  a  column  of  flame, 

To  oppose  the  Dalcas  leader  ; 
And  his  mountain-height  o'er  the  wave  of  fight, 

Was  seen,  like  a  desert-cedar  : 
And  shield  to  shield,  on  the  smoking  field, 

They  met,  like  two  night-demons  rending 
The  fiery-gloom  of  the  storm-cloud's  womb, 

For  the  rule  of  the  lightning  contending. 

As  things  of  light,  in  their  aerial  flight, 

Flash'd  their  arms  in  ringing  collision  ; 
And  their  spears  hiss'd  loud  for  a  drink  of  blood, 

As  they  leap'd  on  their  deadly  mission  ; 
But  the  shafts  fell  down,  with  a  surly  groan, 

From  each  sounding  buckler's  centre  ; 
As  if  each  strong  spear  refused,  with  fear, 

Those  terrible  shields  to  enter. 


212  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Then  they  drew  their  "  sparths,"  and,  in  riven  parts, 

The  shields  to  the  plain  flew  sounding  ; 
And  the  chiefs  sway'd  back  from  the  fierce  attack, 

Like  waves  from  a  cliff  rebounding. 
But  the  King,  with  the  bound  of  a  fleet  wolf-hound, 

His  ponderous  war-axe  winding, 
Drove  its  fiery  edge,  like  a  cleaving  wedge, 

Thro'  the  Dane's  stout  armour  grinding. 

His  blood  wet  the  plain,  as  a  shower  of  rain, 

And  he  reel'd,  with  his  broad  breast  sever'd  ; 
And  fell,  like  the  fall  of  a  granite  wall, 

By  heaven's  artillery  shiver'd  ; 
Then  the  Northmen  raged,  and  the  hosts  engaged, 

With  a  fiercer  and  deadlier  fury  ; 
And  the  broad  swords  clash'd,  andthe  shields  were  smash'd, 

And  the  battle-flood  roll'd  more  gory. 

By  a  moss-brow'd  crag,  near  his  Raven-flag, 

The  ruler  of  Luimneach,  Muiris, 
Cast  his  lightning-gaze  thro'  the  red  war-haze 

Where  the  swords  of  the  Dalgais  raged  furious  ; 
And  his  fierce  appeal  to  his  men  of  steel, 

Was  heard,  like  a  tempest,  among  them  ; 
And  wild,  as  the  ire  of  a  river  of  fire, 

On  the  men  of  green  Thomond  he  flung  them. 

King  Mahon  prepare,  for  the  storm  of  war 

By  thy  bravest  must  now  be  borne  ! — 
See  those  spears  rushing  bright,  as  the  flames  of  night, 

And  thick  as  tall  ridges  of  corn  ; 
Place  thy  boldest  in  front  to  oppose  the  brunt 

Of  those  headlong  iron-billows  ! 
Let  your  axes  cleave  this  desperate  wave, 

Else  thy  legions  shall  fall,  like  willows  ! 

Up  march'd  to  his  side,  with  lion-pride, 

Young  Brian  his  regal  brother ; 
Like  a  wintry  tide  down  the  mountain's  side, 

Fierce,  rushing  to  join  another. 
And  the  men  of  Cas,  strong  as  towers  of  brass, 

Stand,  like  brown  hill-cliffs  in  the  vanguard  ; 
And,  like  fire-globes,  shined  their  helms  behind 

The  wave  of  their  glittering  standard. 

As  two  seas  meet  in  a  narrow  strait, 

By  a  thousand  tall  rocks  riven ; 
When  the  surge-fiends  call  on  an  angry  squall 

To  give  them  a  fling  towards  heaven  ; 
While  the  clouds  look  down  with  a  dark'ning  frown, 

On  their  billowy  war-dance  whitening, 
And  toss,  thro'  the  gloom,  on  their  helms  of  foam, 

Blue-quivering  plumes  of  lightning. 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  213 

Thus  on,  with  the  sway  of  the  frantic  sea, 

Charged  the  Danes,  with  the  Raven  o'er  them  ; 
While,  as  rocks  in  the  flood,  the  Dalgais  stood, 

In  terrible  might,  before  them ; 
Then  the  axe  and  sword  the  hosts  devour'd, 

And  the  armour  was  shivered  to  splinters  ; 
And  ten  thousand  blows  in  one  hurricane  'rose, 

Like  the  howl  of  a  hundred  winters. 

As  the  pine-wood  bends  when  the  tempest  rends 

Its  branchy  lords  gigantic ; 
As  ships  are  toss'd  on  the  roaring  coast, 

By  the  wrath  of  the  mad  Atlantic  ; 
So  the  ranks  were  wreck 'd,  and  hew'd,  and  hack'd, 

And  the  field  with  their  fall  resounded, 
Like  the  deep,  hoarse  voice  of  a  lake  of  ice, 

When  the  sleighs  are  driving  around  it. 

At  the  head  of  his  band,  by  Brian's  hand, 

Fierce  Teithill  was  cleft  asunder ; 
Like  a  crag  dash'd  down  from  its  steep  hill-throne, 

By  the  fiend  of  the  midnight  thunder  ; 
And  a  bank  of  slain  'rose  o'er  the  plain 

Where  the  cloven  chief  was  lying  ; 
And,  as  red  grapes  crush'd  in  the  wine-press,  gush'd 

The  gaping  wounds  of  the  dying. 

'Mid  the  iron  surge  of  the  mighty  charge, 

By  a  deluge  of  blows  surrounded, 
Luimneach's  lord,  with  his  sweeping  sword, 

On  the  king  of  Leath  Mogha  bounded  ; 
But  Mahon  broke,  with  a  crashing  stroke, 

His  casque  where  the  black  crest  curl'd, 
And  down  he  was  cast,  like  a  stately  mast 

From  a  sea-riding  war-ship  hurl'd. 

Then  a  panic  ran  from  man  to  man, 

And  the  rifted  phalanx  was  scatter'd  ; 
As  a  sand-built  isle  by  the  mad  turmoil 

Of  the  tide  and  the  tempest  shatter 'd  : 
Thus  the  pirate-throng  madly  roll'd  along, 

As  if  hell-dogs  rushed  to  hound  them  ; 
Or  as  wild  beasts  dun  all  roar  and  run, 

When  the  wood  is  in  flames  around  them. 

Tall  Bernard  stood  and  call'd  aloud 

On  his  flying  band  of  hewers, 
To  stand,  and  brave  the  headlong  wave 

Of  their  fiery  and  fierce  pursuers  ! 
But  the  war-tide  swept  him  down  and  leapt, 

With  the  bound  of  an  avalanche,  o'er  him  ; 
And  he  mangled  lay  on  the  bloody  clay, 

As  if  hungry  wild  beasts  tore  him. 


214  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

On  roll'd  the  rout,  with  a  hurricane-shout, 
t    ,       Towards'  Luimneach's  flood-girt  towers  ; 
And  the  plains  were  lined  with  ruin  behind 

The  mass  of  the  flying  powers  : 
They  enter'd  the  town,  and  the  forts  tore  down, 

And  flames  thro'  the  buildings  revell'd  ; 
And  ere  day  sank  to  rest  in  the  yellow  west, 

The  city  in  fire  was  levell'd. 


THE  BANKS  OF  AVONDOUN.* 

September's  sun  is  bright  upon 

The  briary  banks  of  Avondoun, 
Whose  wavelets  run  from  stone  to  stone, 

Each  playing  with  its  silvery  crown  ; 
The  yellow  plains  are  silent  round, 

On  bush  and  tree  the  leaves  are  brown ; 
I  sit  alone,  and  hear  no  sound 

Save  thine,  blue-streaming  Avondoun  ! 

Oh  !  many  a  day,  in  June  and  May, 

I  rested  on  this  winding  bank  ; 
And  mark'd  each  bud  that  kiss'd  thy  flood, 

And  beauty  from  its  freshness  drank ! 
Delighted  with  thy  mountain-song, 

Thro'  broom  and  fern,  sweet- warbling  down, 
I  lay  thy  moorland  flowers  among, 

And  hymn'd  thy  praise,  wild  Avondoun  ! 

The  red  trout's  spangled  armour  gleams 

Beneath  thy  crystal-shaded  curls, 
As  darting  playful  thro'  thy  streams, 

They  seem  like  radiant,  living  pearls  ! 
The  green-furze  hangs  along  thy  side, 

The  yellow  star-gems  of  its  crown ; 
The  slender  fox -glove,  crimson-eyed, 

Shakes  its  bright  bells  o'er  Avondtai ! 

The  fields  are  in  a  sunny  dream — 

Heaven's  gemlets  glow  on  bank  and  bush  ; 
And  in  the  hazy,  humid  beam, 

The  ruby  haws  in  clusters  blush — 
The  darkly  glist'ning  berries  peep 

Between  the  leaves,  half  green  and  brown  ; 
Like  gray  old  chiefs,  the  thistles  sleep 

Beside  the  winding  Avondoun. 

*  Brown  River-— a  poetical  name  given  to  a  mountain  stream  with  wild 
and  winding  banks.  It  flows  from  the  hills  of  Cappantimore  and  empties 
itself  into  the  Shannon,  a  few  hundred  yards  below  the  Lax  Weir. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  215  • 

The  summer  glads  the  heart  and  eye, 

When  all  looks  fresh  and  young,  and  green ; 
But  let  me  feel  the  dreary  joy 

That  haunts  the  soul  'mid  autumn's  scene. 
The  fallen  leaf,  the  naked  tree 

Rock'd  by  the  gale's  wild  rustling  wing, 
Impart  a  weird  delight  to  me, 

That  summer's  glow  could  never  bring  ! 

Away,  ye  shadows,  wealth  and  power ! 

Away  thou  stony-hearted  town ! 
I'll  dream  alone,  one  pleasant  hour, 

By  gentle-flowing  Avondoun  ! 
Oh  !  would  I  were  a  bird  to  sing 

All  day  around  thy  lonely  flood — 
A  flower,  or  any  guileless  thing, 

Save  wretched  human  flesh  and  blood ! 

The  curlew's  solitary  scream, 

From  yon  wild  morass  rises  shrill ; 
The  mists  are  weaving,  in  the  beam, 

A  blue  robe  for  the  naked  hill — 
The  song-birds  fly  round  crag  and  broom, 

With  sun-gold  glinting~on  their  wings  ; 
The  pale  reed,  with  its  dusky  plume, 

Hangs  trembling  o'er  the  marshy  springs. 

Gray  winter's  polar  blasts  are  near, 

The  scenes  look  gloomy,  grand  and  wild ; 
Thou  shalt  more  frequent  see  me  here, 

Than  when  gay  summer's  beauty  smiled ! 
When  round  yon  sterile  summits  hoar, 

The  angry-swelling  snow-clouds  frown, 
I'll  hail  thee  then,  and  love  thee  more, 

Child  of  the  dark  hills,  Avondoun ! 


THE  LIVING  SKELETON. 
A    Ywjffl  nf  ili&JPamine  Year,  1847. 

The  wintry  evening's  gloaming 
From  the  cold,  blue  east  was  coming, 
O'er  the  sombre  mountains  looming, 

With 'the  night's  first  solemn  frown  ; 
Where  November's  snow  lay  lightly 
On  their  foreheads,  beaming  whitely, 
Through  the  clouded  twilight  brightly 
On  the  dark  glens  glancing  down  ; 
And  the  blast,  with  spectral  moanings,  thro'  the  frozen  valleys 

raved, 
And  the  bare  woods,  stark  and  dreary,  with  a  dismal  murmur, 
waved. 


216  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

From  the  angry  sky  fast  showering, 
Leap'd  the  hail-stones,  pattering,  pouring, 
In  the  black  wind  hoarsely  roaring 
O'er  the  frigid  scene  of  gloom ; 
And  I  listened  to  its  rustle, 
And  its  solitary  whistle, 
As  its  wild  strength  seem'd  to  wrestle 
With  the  four  walls  of  my  room, 
Where,    darkly,    sadly  pondering  upon   wretched   Ireland's 

doom, 
Sat  I  weaving  scenes  of  horror  in  dark  Fancy's  wizard  loom. 

'Twas  in  ruthless  Forty-Seven, — 
When  the  plague-fraught  air  was  riven 
With  the  sound  which  harrowed  heaven, 

Of  a  famished  people's  cry — 
When  the  famine  fiend  was  formed, 
All  with  tenfold  horrors  arm'd, 
And  our  godless  rulers,  charmed, 
Saw  their  Irish  victims  f^p^,„ , 
While  Europe,  all  alarm'd,  heard  the  wail  that  tore  the  sky 
A  dying  Nation's  death-groan,  ringing  up  to  God  on  high. 

Then  Fancy's  wizard  mirror 
Show'd  me  many  a  shape  of  terror, 
As  my  heart  lock'd  deep  in  horror, 

Heard  the  living  wail  the  dead  ; 
While  raging  hunger  stung  them, 
And  the  plague-fiend  stalk'd  among  them, 
And,  like  autumn's  sick  leaves,  flung  them 
In  the  dust's  unhallowed  bed, 
Where,   grappling  with  the  demon,  they  fiercely  howl'd  for 

bread, 
As  their  raving  souls  turned  maniac  ere  from  earth  accurs'd 
they  fled. 

Thus  to  see  my  country  lying, 
Like  a  helpless  infant  dying, 
I  wept  in  anguish,  crying, 

God  has  lost  his  love  of  right  ! 
Yet,  'twas  but  a  mad  temptation 
That  with  quick  revibration 
Cross'd  my  soul's  black  desolation, 
Like  the  red  flash  of  the  night — 
As  the  lurid-pinioned  lightning  smites  the  ghastly  face  of 

night, 
Making  darkness  still  more  awful  with  the  terror  of  its  light. 

Sick  and  heart-sore  from  my  weeping, 
Back  I  lay,  o'erwearied,  sleeping, 
Gloomy  thoughts  and  sorrow  steeping 
In  a  pensive  dream  of  rest ; 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  217 

As  a  day  which  clouds  deform 
With  alternate  rain  and  storm — 
At  its  sinking,  calm  and  warm, 
Slumbers  in  the  silent  We^t ; 
Pillow'd  on  the  crimson'd  ether — thus  I  lay,  in  quiet  rest, 
When  a  vision,  strange  and  dismal,  tore  the  spirit  from  my 
breast. 

In  a  place  of  shadows  sunless, 
Barren,  sombre,  treeless,  tuneless, 
Weird,  sepulchral,  starless,  moonless, 
Yet  not  wholly  wrapt  in  gloom ; 
For  some  cold,  unnatural  glimmer, — 
Like  a  March  night  dim,  and  dimmer, 
Or  a  wintry  moonbeam's  shimmer, 
Through  a  crevice  in  a  tomb — 
Glinted  on  this  realm  of  terror — this  dreary  land  of  dole, 
And  grisly  spectre-shadows — where  the  vision  led  my  soul. 

All  my  heart,  with  horror  shrinking, 
On  a  thousand  dread  things  thinking, 
I  advanced — each  footstep  sinking 
In  the  corpse-befatted  ground  ; 
Where,  uncoffined  and  unshrouded, 
Lay  the  blacken'd  bodies  crowded, — 
With  a  pall  of  blue  flies  clouded — 
In  the  festering  graves  around  ; 
While  meagre  birds  of  darkness,  and  lank-sided  beasts  of  prey 
From  the  putrefying  members  tore  the  livid  flesh  away. 

And  amid  that  fearful  legion — 
In  this  pestilential  region, 
Like  a  spirit  of  contagion, 

Sat  a  woman  all  alone ; 
Clad  with  robes  of  faded  splendour, 
Tall,  dark-haired,  large-eyed,  slender, 
With  a  brow  by  grief  made  tender, 
And  white  as  polished  stone  ; 
And  she  wTrung  her  lean  hands,  wildly,  venting  many  a  doleful 

shriek, 
With  gaunt  famine  in  her  dark  eye  and  the  plague-spot  in  her 
cheek. 

Tho'  my  bosom  seemed  to  fear  her, 
And  my  sad  heart  wept  to  hear  her, 
I  softly  ventured  near  her, 

With  respectful  look  and  bow ; 
And  she  ceased  her  funeral  ditty, 
Shaking  back  her  ringlets  jetty, 
And  with  a  look  of  pity, 

Fix  d  her  wild  eyes  on  my  brow;  ! 

15 


218  LAYS   AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Oh !  that  burning  glance  of  anguish  made  my  full  heart  over- 
flow, 
For  it  told  a  thousand  sorrows  in  her  breast  that  raged  below. 

"Mourner!"  said  I,  faintly,  slowly 
Bowing  down  my  person  lowly, 
"Why  in  this  place  unholy 

And  contagious,  dost  thou  weep? 
Has  the  dark  fiend's  deadly  malice 
Flung  his  poison  in  thy  chalice ; 
And  is  there  left  no  solace 

For  the  draught  that  pains  thee  deep? 
But  fly — I  must    implore  thee — from    this    plague-polluted 

sphere, 
For  death,  in  all  his  grisly  shapes,  is  winging  round  us  here !" 

As  gently  I  address'd  her, 

And  with  mild  entreaties  press'd  her, 

I  thought  my  words  distress'd  her, 

For  she  shrank,  as  from  a  blow ; 
In  her  hands  her  face  she  buried — 
And — oh  !  sight  most  dread  and  horrid — 
The  flesh  from  off  her  forehead 

Thaw'd  away,  like  melting  snow, 
And  her  long,  dark-tangled  ringlets  fell  around  her  livid  feet, 
Ajad  the  robe  dropp'd  from  her  bosom,  like  a  mouldered  wind- 
ing-sheet. 

Backward  shrank  I  from  the  Spectre, 
With  many  a  strange  conjecture, 
Gazing  on  that  awful  picture 

Of  horror  and  affright, 
Which  now  stood  starkly,  dimly, 
In  its  hideous  outlines  grimly — 
Gaunt,  grisly,  and  unseemly — 
Before  my  tortured  sight; 
While  thro'  gaping  joint  and  sinew  wax'd  the  silky-glaring 

light, 
The  eyeless  skull  frowned  on  me,   and  the  gumless  teeth 
grinn'd  white. 

Then  from  the  cloud-gloom  stooping, 
Foul  birds,  on  black  wings  swooping, 
Round  the  skeleton  came  trooping, 

With  strange  screams  and  iron  claws ; 
And  long  necks  bare  and  meagre, 
For  the  charnel-banquet  eager, 
And  eyes  which  glared  the  rigour 
Of  keen  hunger-bitten  maws ; 
While  they  tore  the  bluish  tendons  from  the  long  disjointed 

bones, 
The  Spectre  writhed  with  torture  and  faintly  utter'd  moans. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  219 

Then  its  fleshless  brow  upturning — 
While  the  big  round  drops  of  mourning 
From  its  sightless  eyes  fell  burning — 

It  vehemently  cried, 
"Oh!  Thou,  once  tortured,  torn, 
And  spat  upon  with  scorn, 
Deserted  and  forlorn, 

And  scourged  and  crucified ! 
Take  this  poison-bowl  of  misery  from  my  trembling,  dying 

hand!" 
And  a  voice  said,  "It  shall  pass  from  thee,  oh,  wretched, 
suffering  Land!" 

Thro'  my  soul  the  words  went  ringing, 

Every  pulse  to  fury  stinging, 

And  the  startled  blood  upspringing, 

Seem'd  to  burn  with  agony, 
While  I  cried,  in  fearful  madness, 
"Oh !  dismal  thing  of  sadness ! 
Is  there  ought  of  hope  or  gladness, 
In  God's  Book  of  Fate  for  thee?" 
But  the  Spectre  only  answer'd,   stretching  out  its  fleshless 

hand, 
"Behold  the  Dead  yet  living!  child, I  am  thy  Motherland  !" 
"Oh  !  wond'rous  thing  of  feeling !" 
Said  I,  passionately  kneeling, 
"By  thy  cries  to  God  appealing, 

By  thy  wounds,  and  pains,  and  tears ! 
By  the  many  pangs  that  harrow 
Thy  forlorn  heart  of  sorrow, 
Tell  me — tell  me,  if  thy  morrow 
Of  Redemption  yet  appears  ?" 
But  the  Spectre  thrice  repeated,  and  still  waved  its  trembling 

hand, 
"I'm  the  Lost  One  of  the  Nations,  thy  forsaken  Motherland  !" 

Then  a  ray,  all  pure  and  splendid, 
O'er  the  brightning  sphere  descended, 
And,  in  middle  air  suspended, 

Fill'd  the  dusky  mist  with  light ! 
And  I  saw  red  sun- stars  blazing 
O'er  a  blood-hued  arch,  upraising 
Its  bow,  with  angels  gazing 

From  its  fiery  crescent  bright ; 
And  the  clouds  became  emblazon'd  with  a  glistening  crimson 

dye, 
As  they  hung,  like  battle-banners,  in  the  fiercely-flaming  sky. 

Then  their  burning  folds  divided, 
Where  the  spirit-band  presided, 
And  a  monster  eagle  glided 

Thro5  the  glowing,  crimson  flood, 


220  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  his  wings,  with  star-plumes  splendid, 

To  each  horizon  extended, 

As  his  downward  flight  he  wended, 
Where  the  bony  Spectre  stood  ; 
And  his  eyes  were  as  two  comets  shooting  war-presaging  rays, 
And  the  sun  seem'd  but  a  meteor  to  the  glory  of  his  gaze. 

And  before  this  flying  wonder, 
All  the  black  graves  burst  asunder ; 
And  the  corpses  that  lay  under, 

Started  into  living  forms  ; 
And  their  faces  wore  a  passion  ^ 
That  no  painter's  art  could  fashion, 
While  their  wild  eyes  seemed  to  flash  on, 
With  fierce  scorn,  the  hideous  worms  ; 
And  they  hail'd  the  mighty  eagle,  with  a  world-ringing  cry, 
Like  the  war-song  of  the  ocean  when  the  wind-god  rushes  by. 
Then  those  fierce  men  troop'd  together 
Round  the  winged  king  of  ether  ; 
And  each  bold  man  snatch'd  a  feather 

From  the  glorious,  royal  bird  ; 
And  they  stood  all  bravely  arm'd, 
With  one  martial  ardour  warm'd, 
For  each  plume  became  transform'd 
To  a  glittering  battle-sword  ; 
And  they  rush'd,  with  desperate  fury,  on  the  birds  and  beasts 

of  prey, 
And  cut  them  all  in  piecemeal,  and  trampled  them  to  clay. 

Now  from  earth's  black  bosom  stealing, 
Rose  a  radiant  sun- cloud  swelling, 
The  gaunt  Skeleton  o'erveiling, 

With  a  drapery  of  red ; 
Each  joint  and  bone  enfolding 
With  a  symmetrical  moulding  ! 
While  a  garment,  rich  and  golden, 

O'er  her  growing  shoulders  spread, 
And  a  glory  o'er  her  features,  like  a  grand  spring  morning  stole, 
And  her  eyes  blazed  with  the  newly-kindled  lightning  of  her 
soul. 
Then  a  great  host  march'd  before  her, 
With  bright  banners  flaunting  o'er  her, 
As  the  mighty  eagle  bore  her 

To  a  throne  of  gorgeous  sheen ; 
And  there  in  state  elated, 
'Mid  applauding  millions  seated, 
Was  the  proud,  regenerated, 
And  enduring  Ocean-Queen; 
And  her  face  grew  fair  and  fairer,  and  her  sceptre-hand  grew 

strong, 
'Till  o'er  her  brow  of  splendour  hung  no  shadow  of  a  wrong* 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  221 

And  a  heavenly  sunburst  crown'd  her, 
And  the  crystal  seas  around  her, 
Seem'd  to  burst  in  joyous  thunder 
On  her  diamond-sanded  shore ; 
And  great  ships  of  trade  unfailing, 
To  her  royal  ports  were  sailing, 
And  the  voice  of  woe  and  wailing, 

On  her  plains,  was  heard  no  more  ; 
And  her  Angel  of  Deliverance  thro'  the  climes  of  Earth  pro- 

claim'd, 
( Return,  ye  weary  exiles !    Lo !  your  country  is  redeemed !" 


THE  ROSE  OF  THE  GLEN. 

(a  legend  of  cratloe.)* 

Beneath  the  deep  shadows  of  Cratloe's  wild  mountains, 
Where  the  birchen-boughs  wave  o'er  a  hundred  blue  fountains ; 
And  each  crag's  granite  forehead  is  wreathed  with  broom, 
With  the  dew-crystals  set  in  the  bells  of  its  bloom ; 
There  the  wing'd  minstrels,  throned  on  each  sweet-budding- 

.  spray, 
'Mid  sunshine  and  fragrance,  sing  love-hymns  all  day, 
While  the  gale  from  the  lap  of  the  mountain  sublime, 
Steals  away  the  sweet  soul  of  the  rich-scented  thyme ; 
And  there,  'mid  those  glories,  secluded  from  men, 
Dwelt  Eily  O'Donnell,  the  Rose  of  the  Glen  ! 

No  bright-flowing  garments  had  Eily  to  wear, 
Nor  golden  her  ringers,  nor  gems  in  her  hair ; 
But  simply  the  beautiful  maiden  was  dress'd, 
In  plain  peasant  attire,  which  suits  loveliness  best. 

From  Luimneach's  walls  to  Bunratty's  gray  towers, 

From  Meelick's  wide  woodlands  to  Derra's  dark  bowers ; 

From  Cratloe's  tall  Castle  to  Carrigogunnell, 

No  peer  had  the  beautiful  Eily  O'Donnell. 

Her  eyes  were  as  violets  embedded  in  dew, 

Or  May's  sunny  heaven,  as  pure  and  as  blue  ; 

She  smiled,  like  the  primrose  by  Coonagh's  brown  rills, 

She  blush'd,  like  the  berries  on  Boola's  dark  hills  ; 

And  she  moved  on  the  plain,  in  the  clear  summer  noon, 

Like  the  sunray  that  floats  o'er  the  meadows  in  June. 

In  her  cottage,  all  day  at  her  distaff  and  reel, 

She  sang,  like  a  seraph,  the  songs  of  the  Gael ; 

And  when  winter's  snow-carpet  lay  deep  o'er  the  land, 

The  grateful  birds  knew  her,  and  fed  at  her  hand. 

•Cratloe  Castle  was  built,  in  1610,  by  Donogh  M'Namara  and  Margaret 
Barry,  bis  wife.  After  the  Siege  of  Limerick,  Cratloe  was  confiscated,  and 
the  Castle  dismantled.  It  was,  in  1651,  for  several  weeks  besieged  by  Ireton, 
but  it  successfully  resisted  all  his  efforts  to  reduce  it.  The  last  of  the 
Cratloe  MacNamaras  left  it  on  the  day  that  the  battle  of  Bunker  Hill  was 
fought. 


222  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

How  sweet  fell  the  eve-mist  on  valley  and  lawn, 

When  she  stray'd  o'er  the  hills,  with  her  loved  Owen  Bhan  ! 

How  joyful  the  soul  of  her  lover  was,  when 

He  met,  in  the  twilight,  his  Rose  of  the  Glen  ! 

Tho'  no  lord  of  the  soil,  and  no  chief  of  the  sword, 

He  was  brave  as  a  hero,  and  look'd  like  a  lord ; 

Tho'  a  plain,  humble  youth,  without  titles  or  gold, 

His  bosom  was  proud  and  his  spirit  was  bold. 

For  his  was  a  lineage  of  glory  traced  down 

From  the  Lords  of  Leath  Mogha,  whose  swords  of  renown — 

For  ever  victorious  o'er  Norman  and  Dane — 

Crush'd  the  insolent  robbers,  on  land  and  on  main. 

But  the  Saxon  prevail'd  thro'  long  ages  of  blood, 

He  conquer'd  with  gold,  for  his  sword  was  withstood ; 

And  the  noble  Dalcassian  tribe  fell  by  degrees, 

Like  a  forest  despoil'd  of  its  beautiful  trees  ;t 

And  Owen,  tho'  born  to  a  chieftain's  command, 

Was  robb'd  of  his  ancestral  honours  and  land  ; 

And  doom'd,  thro'  the  round  of  the  season,  to  toil, 

On  those  plains  where  his  fathers  were  lords  of  the  soil. 

In  Cratloe's  tall  Castle  a  chieftain  resided, 
By  all  the  wild  spells  of  a  wild  passion  guided — 
(For  Cratloe  had  chieftains,  high  halls,  and  gay  bowers, 
Ere  the  hell-harden'd  Cromwell  dismantled  her  towers) — 
A  lord  of  the  noble  Sil  Aedha,*  whose  name 
Shines  illustrious  in  Thomond's  grand  records  of  fame ; 
The  stern  MacNamaras,  whose  strong  swords  alone, 
For  ages,  secured  the  O'Briens  on  their  throne. 
O'er  Thomond's  rich  soil  lay  their  lordly  domains,     • 
From  Killeely's  dark  woodlands  to  Scariff  s  wide  plains ; 
From  Coonagh's  broad  fields  to  where  Fergus  divides, 
With  the  deep-rolling  Shannon,  his  blue  mountain-tides. 
From  Bunratty  of  battles  and  wild  warrior-men, 
To  the  white  crags  of  Burren,  and  dark  Inchiquin. 
O'er  those  sway'd  the  chiefs  of  the  Clan  MacNamara, 
Ere  the  crown  of  proud  Tara  was  worn  at  Kinkora  ; 
And  in  every  fierce  conflict  their  standard  appear 'd, 
And  their  war-shouts  for  Erin  and  Freedom  were  heard. 
Their  power  made  princes  and  raised  them  to  reign, 
They  built  abbeys  and  castles,  and  burned  them  again  ; 
The  Danes,  and  false  Saxons,  and  fierce  Norman  lords, 
Were  cut,  like  dry  grass,  by  their  axes  and  swords. 

*  Sil  Aedha  was  one  of  the  tribe  names  of  the  MacNamaras  of  Clan  Cuilen. 
They  were  the  field  marshals  of  Munster  since  time  immemorial.  They 
built  twenty-eight  castles  in  Thomond,  together  with  several  fine  abbeys 
(Quin  being  the  principal),  which  they  largely  endowed.  In  their  power 
lay  the  sole  and  safe  election  of  the  native  princes  to  royal  authority.  How 
this  mighty  and  warlike  tribe  lost  their  immense  possessions,  in  so  short  a 
time,  is  a  matter  to  cause  surprise ;  but  reckless  extravagance  had  a  strong 
hand  in  it ;  together  with  the  confiscations  of  Cromwell  and  James  I. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  223 

How  weak  was  O'Brien  !  how  fallen  was  his  pride, 

If  the  brave  MacNamara  was  not  at  his  side  ! 

And  the  grand  House  of  Thomond  had  little  to  boast, 

Were  it  not  for  Sil  Aedha's  strong  war-cleaving  host  ;* 

A  terrible  race,  to  the  battle-field  given, 

Proud,  tameless,  and  wild  as  the  eagles  of  heaven. 

Yet  O'Brien,  forgetful  of  kingly  renown, 

At  the  feet  of  the  alien  his  honours  laid  down ; 

And  the  high  eagle-nest  of  magnanimous  souls, 

Became  the  cold  dwelling  of  spiritless  owls  ; 

Self-quench' d  was  that  great  name  which  burned  So  long, 

And  the  fierce  torrent  died  while  its  billows  were  strong ; 

The  proud  Tree,  whose  high  boughs  such  glorious  fruit  bore, 

Bow  d  its  head  to  the  vile  dust,  and  blossom'd  no  more. 

Yet,  tho'  o'er  green  Thomond  the  foreigner  sway'd, 

With  the  arms  of  her  chiefs  round  his  standard  array 'd, 

The  stern  MacNamaras,  unconquer'd,  unbow'd, 

On  their  own  royal  mountains  stood  chainless  and  proud, 

While  their  eyes  flash'd  contempt  on  the  weak-hearted  race 

Who  barter'd  a  crown  for  a  yoke  of  disgrace ; 

But  the  cancer  had  eaten  their  spirits  so  far, 

They  dash'd  from  their  brave  hands  the  strong  swords  of  war 

And  sullenly,  slowly  conformed  to  the  laws, 

Like  lions  indignant  deprived  of  their  claws. 

But  back  to  our  story  of  Cratloe's  gray  castle, 

Where  now  the  owl  moans  and  the  dreary  winds  whistle ; 

And  the  hawk  o'er  its  ivy-zoned  turrets  is  screaming, 

Where  once  the  proud  flag  of  Clan  Cuilen  was  streaming. 

I  sat  on  its  war-worn  battlements  hoary, 

And  sigh'd  o'er  the  tomb  of  its  long-perish'd  glory ; 

I  gazed  on  the  banquet-hall,  dismal  and  drear, 

And  the  red-blossom' d  wall-flowers  waved  silently  there. 

The  spider's  frail  web  spread  its  wind-torn  screen, 

In  the  nooks  where  the  dreary  bat  slumbers  unseen ; 

The  mountain-bee  hums  thro'  the  shadowy  hall, 

And  the  snail  leaves  his  gray,  silvery  trail  on  the  wall. 

How  changed  from  the  old,  splendid  days  of  its  pride, 
When  its  chieftains  lived  free,  or  for  liberty  died ; 
When  its  rocky  halls  echoed  with  revel  and  lay, 
Sounding  high  on  the  wind,  at  the  close  of  the  day  ; 
When  the  daughters  of  beauty  moved  light  o'er  the  floor, 
In  the  maze  of  the  dance,  with  the  wild  sons  of  war ; 
While  its  huge  hearths  blazed  brightly,  with  bogwood  and  oak, 
And  the  rich  banquet  scented  the  hall  with  its  smoke ; 

*  Fireball  and  his  "brother,  the  Major,  who  seconded  O'Connell  in  his  duel 
with  D'Esterre,  were  the  last  who  represented  the  valiant  blood  of  the 
chieftaincy.  'With  them  died  all  that  was  chivalrous  and  noble  of  the  long- 
dreaded  and  illustrious  Clan  Cuilen.  The  late  Colonel  MacNamara,  of 
Ennistymon,  was  another  scion  of  the  warlike  and  historic  race,  "Ala*! 
for  the  sons  of  glory  /" 


224  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  the  loud  laugh  of  mirth,  as  the  revelry  grew, 
Rung  gay  from  the  heart  of  the  reckless  Seaan  Rudh* 
Seaan  Rudh  MaoNamara,  bold  lord  of  the  tower  ! 
Who  scorn'd  all  danger  and  spurn'd  all  power ; 
At  love-feats,  and  banquets,  and  combats  of  steel, 
Unrivall'd  and  wild  as  Shane  Dymas  O'Neill,  f 
Love,  feasting  and  battle,  his  spirit's  delight— 
A  combat  all  day  and  a  banquet  all  night — 
A-wooing  some  damsel,  embroil'd  with  some  lord** 
For  ever  engaged  with  a  love-suit,  or  sword  ; 
Each  day  saw  him  bound  for  the  plain  or  the  hill, 
A  lady  to  meet,  or  a  rival  to  kill. 

One  calm  harvest-morn  he  chased  a  wild  deer, 
O'er  the  brown  mountain-peaks,  with  his  sharp  hunting  spear 
Thro'  dark  gorge  and  green  heath  the  frighted  beast  flew, 
But  fix'd  in  his  flank  was  the  steel  of  Seaan  Rudh  : 
Thro'  the  gloom  of  the  forest  the  fainting  deer  fled, 
And  fern  and  blade,  with  his  life-drops  grew  red ; 
To  the  glen,  where  young  Eily  so  long  lived  retired, 
The  child  of  the  desert  rush'd  down,  and  expired  ; 
The  maiden  went  forth  from  her  home  in  the  shade, 
And  moved  to  the  spot  where  the  wild  deer  was  laid ; 
'Tis  her  own  favourite  roebuck  that  lifeless  lies  there, 
And  she  rung  her  white  hands,  with  a  scream  of  despair. 
MacNamara  dash'd  down,  with  his  green-attired  men, 
And  beheld,  with  amaze,  the  fair  Rose  of  the  Glen  ; 
Like  a  young  mountain-hazel,  majestic  she  stood, 
While  the  chief  felt  a  sudden  flame  kindling  his  blood. 

"  Young  Queen  of  the  valley  and  green  birchen-shade  ! " 
Thus  spoke  the  fierce  Seaan  to  the  delicate  maid ; 
"  The  glance  of  thy  blue  eye  has  pierced  like  an  arrow, 
The  steel-tempered  heart  of  the  proud  MacNamara  ! 
Come,  come  to  my  mansion,  thou  angel  serene  ! 
And  there  thou  shalt  live,  rule  and  reign  as  a  queen  ! 
And  Cratloe's  broad  lands,  woods,  and  hills,  shall  be  thine, 
And  Coonagh's  rich  meadows,  well  stored  with  fat  kine  ! 
In  my  house  and  my  heart,  high  command  shalt  thou  bear, 
And  the  gems  of  a  princess  shall  blaze  in  thy  hair ; 
And  men  of  proud  bearing,  and  maids,  light  and  gay, 
Shall  defend  thee  all  night  and  attend  thee  all  day  ; 
And  no  bride  in  the  land  shall  be  like  my  young  bride, 
With  grandeur,  and  treasure,  and  pleasure  supplied  ! " 

"  Proud  lord  of  the  forests  and  mountain-rocks  brown!  " 
Thus  spoke  the  young  maid,  when  the  chieftain  was  done  ; 

*  lfc>d  John,  supposed  to  be  the  son  of  Donogh  who  built  the  castle. 
Owen  Bhan  was  one  of  his  kinsmen,  and  he  merely  carried  off  Eily  to  the 
castle  for  the  purpose  of  trying  Owen's  ancestral  courage. 

t  Shane  the  proud.  For  an  account  of  this  wild  and  warlike  Chief,  see 
John  Mitchell's  "  Life  of  Hugh  O'Neill." 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  225 

'  Thy  generous  offers  no  maid  could  deny, 
But  my  heart  with  those  offers  can  never  comply  ! 
Persist  not,  brave  chief  ! — I'm  defenceless  and  lone, 
And  my  heart-vows  are  pledged  to  the  young  Owen  Bhan  ! 
Nor  the  splendour  of  power  nor  the  smooth  tongues  of  men, 
Shall  win  from  his  bosom  the  Rose  of  the  Glen  !  " 

The  dark  chieftain  frown'd  and  the  blaze  of  his  eye 
Wax'd  red  as  the  lightning,  when  tempests  are  nigh, 
From  his  silver-rein'd  hunter  impetuous  he  sprung, 
And  the  terrified  maid  on  the  wild  steed  he  flung, 
And  he  bounded  behind  her,  and  dash'd  from  the  bower, 
Like  a  hawk  with  his  prey,  to  his  tall,  rocky  tower. 

'Tis  evening,  and  Cratloe's  gray  Castle  is  ringing, 

With  harping  and  feasting,  and  dancing  and  singing ; 

And  the  dim,  hazy  crimson  of  sunset  is  thrown 

Thro'  each  stout-shafted  casement  of  rough-chisell'd  stone  ; 

The  guests  are  assembled,  in  gorgeous  attire, 

And  cheeks  of  bright  rose-hues,  and  eyes  of  soft  fire, 

Surround  the  gay  board  all  with  radiant  cups  starr'd, 

While  the  martial  Boss  Catha  was  sung  by  a  bard  ! 

And  the  cheers  of  the  warriors  exultingly  rung 

Thro'  the  spacious  arch'd  hall,  keeping  time  with  the  song  ; 

And  they  'rose,  as  if  rushing  to  fight  round  the  boards, 

Pealing  out  their  dread  war-shout  and  clashing  their  swords. 

There  were  princely  O'Brien  of  famed  Lemeneagh,  * 
O'Loughlin  of  Burren,  and  gallant  O'Dea  ; 
O'Hehir,  O'Halloran,  0' Grady,  O'Hearn, 
MacMahon  the  strong,  Maclnerney  the  stern ; 
The  valiant  ODonnell,  from  Luimneach's  rich  city, 
MacNamara,  fierce  lord  of  the  towers  of  Bunratty ; 
MacNamara  of  Ayle,  MacNamara  of  Quinn, 
And  the  proud  MacNamara  of  green  Corofin  ; 
O'Neill,  haughty  chief  of  the  long  yellow  hair, 
O'Callaghan,  lord  of  the  borders  of  Clare  ; 
All  fearless  and  true  men,  bold,  generous  and  bright, 
And  these  are  Seaan  Rudh's  brother-revellers  to-night ! 

Like  bright,  pleasant  dreams,  the  gay  hours  fled  away, 
Ere  the  banqueters  mark'd  the  brief  date  of  their  stay. 
Their  reckless  enjoyment  was  full  at  its  height, 
And  no  bosom  was  sad  in  the  Castle  that  night ; 

*  "  This  noble  mansion/the  seat  of  the  ancestors  of  the  Dromoland  O'Briens, 
was  taken  possession  of  and  garrisoned  by  Ireton's  troops,  under  General 
Ludlow,  in  1651.  They  compelled  the  widowed  Lady  O'Brien  (whose  hus- 
band, Connor,  was  slain,  defending  the  Pass  of  Inchicronan  against  the 
Parliamentary  troops),  to  quit  her  residence,  with  her  orphan  son,  and  seek 
refuge  elsewhere.  The  brigands  cut  down  and  burned  a  great  portion  of  the 
fine  old  ornamental  timber  of  the  demense,  besides  doing  other  injuries  to 
the  grand  mansion,  which  was  abandoned  by  the  family  in  future.  The 
interesting  ruins  of  this  historic  castle  are  still  standing."— M emoir  of  the 
O'Briens. 


226  LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

No  bosom  was  sad,  oh,  fair  Eily,  but  thine  ! 

Tho'  around  thee  ran  fountains  of  music  and  wine  ! 

She  gazed  on  each  proud  dame,  and  high-crested  chief, 

And  the  joy  of  their  eyes  mock'd  the  soul  of  her  grief  ; 

In  secret  she  call'd  on  her  lover,  with  sighs, 

From  the  wells  of  her  heart,  bringing  streams  to  her  eyes  ; 

And  sadly  she  wept — oh,  ye  gay  warrior-men ! 

Bear  her  back  to  her  own  humble  home  in  the  Glen  ! 

A  stranger  appears  'mid  the  festival  throng, 

His  stature  is  comely,  but  lofty  and  strong  ; 

In  the  hall's  brilliant  centre  he  takes  his  bold  stand, 

With  a  dirk  at  his  side  and  a  sword  in  his  hand  ; 

And  the  quick,  steely  glance  of  his  eye  flash'd  on  all, 

As  the  angry  youth  frown'd  o'er  the  guests  in  the  hall. 

Then  up  stood  Red  Seaan,  with  a  bowl  amply  fill'd, 

And  that  high-flowing  bowl  to  the  stranger  he  held  ; 

But  the  stranger  refused — with  a  wave  of  his  brand, 

And  the  gallant  chief  flung  down  the  bowl  from  his  hand  ; 

"By  the  soul  of  my  father!"  he  cried,  with  a  sneer, 

"You  are  a  black  Saxon  churl ! — say  what  brought  you  here  ?" 

"I'm  come !"  said  the  youth,  "and  my  mission  is  strange, — 

A  deed  of  disgrace  on  your  head  to  avenge  ! 

Yet  I  am  no  serf  of  the  Sassenach  line, 

For  the  blood  in  my  veins  is  as  Irish  as  thine  ! 

You  are  valiant  in  action,  and  mighty  in  word, 

Your  clan  fears  your  power,  and  your  foes  feel  your  sword 

But  I  scorn  your  clan,  and  your  sword,  and  your  power, 

Tho'  here  I'm  alone,  in  the  hall  of  your  tower  ! 

Was  it  valour  or  honour  inspired  you  to-day, 

To  force  a  poor  maid  from  her  shieling  away  ? 

Now  I  say  to  your  beard,  mighty  madman,  beware — 

For,  by  heaven !  if  violence  has  harm'd  one  hair 

Of  her  dark,  silken  locks  !  this  good  sword  you  shall  feel, 

Tho'  your  person  were  guarded  by  ramparts  of  steel  ! 

And  now  I  command  you,  on  death's  instant  pain, 

To  restore,  unmolested,  the  Hose  of  the  Glen  t" 

Deep,  silent  sensation  arrested  the  crowd, 

But  the  reckless  Seaan  Rudh  laugh'd  contemptuous  and  loud! 

"By  the  red  God  of  battles  !  my  Oscar  !"  he  cried, 

"I  delight  in  my  soul,  at  your  choice  of  a  bride  ! 

Yet  now  shall  our  actions  of  chivalry  prove 

Who  is  worthy  to  enter  the  temple  of  love  ! 

In  my  own  Castle-hall  you  have  valiantly  come 

To  the  trial,  and  here  will  I  welcome  you  home  ! 

The  love-feat,  the  wine-bowl,  the  axe  and  the  arrow, 

Alike  give  enjoyment  to  Seaan  MacNamara  ! 

Your  sword — my  young  gallant,  I  honour  your  claim  ! 

For,  by  all  that  is  fair  !  you  must  fight  for  the  dame  !" 


LAYS   AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  227 

He  said,  and  advanced  on  the  floor's  empty  space, 

The  guests,  standing  off,  gave  the  combatants  place  ; 

The  sword,  dimly  gleaming,  is  raised  in  each  hand, 

As  forth  to  the  onset  the  fierce  rivals  stand. 

The  signal  is  given — the  warriors  charge, 

And  bravely  they  fight,  without  helmet  or  targe  ; 

But  the  steel  of  Seaan  Rudh,  at  each  movement,  drew  blood 

And  redden'd  the  floor  where  the  young  hero  stood, 

The  gallant  Owen  Bhan  never  falter' d  nor  fell, 

But  defended  his  person,  right  valiant  and  well ; 

Yet  return'd  his  blows,  with  the  cautionless  might, 

Ever  shown  by  the  rash,  inexperienced  in  fight. 

The  bold  MaoNamara,  with  coolness,  flung  back 

The  impetuous  wildness  of  Owen's  attack, 

And  caught  on  his  guard-stroke,  so  actively  spread, 

The  blows  which  his  rival  had  meant  for  his  head  ; 

"While  his  eye  gleam*  d,  like  that  of  a  lion  at  play 

In  the  gloomy-arch'd  wood,  when  he  sports  with  his  prey. 

Twelve  times  at  his  bosom  the  weapon's  point  flash'd, 

Twelve  times  from  its  quick  aim  that  weapon  he  dash'd  ; 

At  last,  with  a  strong,  sidelong  sweep  of  his  brand, 

He  struck  the  sword  ringing  from  Owen's  bold  hand  ; 

Another  stroke  follow' d  and  brought  to  the  ground 

The  youth,  his  high  forehead  mark'd  with  a  wound ; 

He  lay,  while  the  foot  of  the  victor  was  placed 

On  his  neck,  with  the  sword  pointed  down  at  his  breast ; 

When  Eily  rush'd  forth  from  the  dais,  and  clung 

To  the  youth,  like  a  mother  defending  her  young  ; 

Her  white,  slender  hand  grasp'd  the  weapon  upraised, 

In  the  chief's  burning  face  she  imploringly  gazed, 

And  dropp'd  on  her  knees,  with  a  passionate  prayer, 

To  the  wrathful-eyed  warrior  her  lover  to  spare ; 

The  noble  Red  Seaan,  with  delight  in  his  eyes, 

Laugh'd  aloud,  and  commanded  young  Owen  to  rise. 

"You  have  well  proved  your  spirit,  and  earn'd  the  dame, 
You  are  worthy  her  favour — now  tell  me  your  name  I — 
I  have  tried  your  affections  and  found  them  sincere, 
And  for  that  cause  I  brought  your  beloved  one  here  ! 
I  will  grant  you  ten  acres  of  bawn,  stock'd  with  kine, 
When  the  beautiful  Rose  of  the  Glen  shall  be  thine! 
But  as  sure  as  you  stood  here  before  me,  to-night, 
If  I  saw  your  nerve  waver  or  shrink  from  the  fight — 
Were  all  the  grand  lords  of  Clan  Cuilen  your  sires, — 
I'd  strip  your  stout  shoulders  and  scourge  you  with  briers ! 
But  your  spirit  is  brave,  and  your  courage  is  true, 
And  you  said  what  you  were  bold  and  ready  to  do ! 

Brave  Owen  sprang  up,  like  a  deer,  from  the  ground, 
His  strength  was  refresh'd  and  his  raw  scars  were  bound; 


228  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Every  chief  shook  his  hand,  with  a  free,  friendly  zeal, 
And  declared  him  a  scion  of  warlike  Glan  Tail ! 
Fair  Eily  was  greeted  by  ladies  and  lords, 
Who  repaid  her  affection  with  golden  rewards ; 
A  pastor  was  call'd  to  the  hall — there  and  then, 
He  married  Owen  Bhan  to  the  Rose  of  the  Glen. 


THE  BATTLE  OF  CORCOMROE.* 

(A.D.— 1317) 
The  clans  are  embattled,  at  dark  Corcomroe, 
And  proudly  their  trumpets  and  war-horns  blow ; 
The  blood,  bone,  and  strength  of  all  Thomond  are  there, 
With  lances  in  rest  and  broad  battle- swords  bare. 
The  chivalrous  powers  of  Clan  Cuilen  march  on, 
With  the  proud  MacNamaras,  like  towers,  in  the  van ; 
The  plumes  of  their  legions  are  nodding  on  high, 
Like  tall  forest-tops  waving  dark  in  the  sky. 

In  their  ranks  were  O'Slattery,  O'Hossin,  O'Maly, 

Maclnerney,  O'Meehan,  O'Clarigh,  O'Haly, 

O'Hartigan,  O'Halloran,  O'Meany,  O'Liddy, 

O'Dea  and  O'Loghlin,  O'Quin  and  O'Grady, 

All  war-season'd  champions  of  vigour  and  might, 

Born  of  proud  mothers  and  nurst  amid  fight ; 

They  spread  their  battalions'  steel  wings  o'er  the  plain, 

'Gainst  Donogh  the  usurper,  and  fierce  Brian  Bane.f 

And,  grim  as  a  hungry  wolf,  Donogh  is  there, 
With  the  stern  Hy-mbloid %  and  the  troops  of  De  Clare ; 
Brian  Berra,  the  fierce,  at  his  side  takes  his  stand, 
With  his  wrathful  eye  red  as  the  point  of  his  brand  : 
Tall  Mortogh  the  Bough,  and  Teige  Luimnich  the  Strong, 
Shake  their  swords  in  the  front  of  the  dense  battle-throng — 
Long,  long  shall  green  Thomond  remember,  with  woe, 
That  dreadful  war-gathering  at  dark  Corcomroe. 

Brave  Dermod,  the  brother  of  Mortogh  O'Brien, § 
Arranges  the  squadrons  and  orders  each  line  ; — 

*  The  consummate  warrior,  Brian  Bane,  was  grandson  of  Brian  Roe,  who 
introduced  the  De  Clares  into  Thomond.  He  was  constantly  engaged  in 
military  operations,  and  was  the  only  one  of  his  grandfather's  descendants 
who  survived  the  battle  of  Corcomroe. 

t  The  clans  of  eastern  Thomond,  or  Omullod,  containing  the  following 
parishes ;  Clonlea,  Feakle,  Kilnoe,  Kilfinaghty,  Killuran,  Kilseily,  Killo- 
kennedy,  forming  the  present  deanery  of  Omullod,  in  the  diocese  of  Killaloe. 
The  most  distinguished  families  who  owned  those  places  were  the  O'Ken- 
nedys,  O'Shanaghans,  or  Shannons,  O'Durachs,  and  O' Kearneys. 

t  "Corcomroe,  so  called  from  the  great  grandson  of  Kory  Mor,  monarch 
of  Ireland  in  the  third  century.  He  was  the  ancestor  of  the  O'Conors  of 
Corcomroe,  and  the  O'Loghlins  of  Burren." — Annals  of  Thomond.' 

\  Mortogh  O'Brien,  the  reigning  Prince  of  Thomond,  was  absent  in 
Dublin,  when  the  battle  was  fought.  Dermod,  his  brother,  who  acted  as 
his  deputy  in  the  Government,  took  the  chief  command  of  the  army  against 
his  enemies  in  the  field. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  229 

Corcomroe's  princely  ruler*  moved  tall  at  his  side, 

And  war-lightning  blazed  in  the  glance  of  his  pride. 

The  sun,  in  his  crystal  pavilion  of  light, 

Seem'd  to  clear  the  dark  blue-border' d  mists  from  his  sight; 

And  emblaze,  with  the  dazzling  fire  of  his  glance, 

Into  terrible  splendour,  sword,  helmet,  and  lance. 

The  shrill  blast  of  conflict  has  blown  its  wild  breath 

O'er  the  fiery-ridged  swell  of  the  ocean  of  death ; 

Tremendous  the  breakers  of  battle  arose, 

'Mid  a  blood-teeming  tempest  of  life- wasting  blows  : 

Up  leapt  the  blue  flame-flashing  axes  in  air, 

As  if  fire-fiends  were  shaking  their  burning  wings  there — 

The  arms  of  both  hosts  in  a  tangled  dance  join'd, 

Like  a  ripe  field  of  wheat  toss'd  and  swung  by  the  wind. 

As  corn  cut  down  by  the  sickle's  sharp  edge — 
Each  chief  was  a  reaper,  each  rank  was  a  ridge — 
So  the  axe-cloven  kerns  lay  scatter'd  around, 
'Neath  the  feet  of  the  slayers,  like  sheaves  on  the  ground. 
From  the  frames  of  the  warriors  the  blood-torrents  burst, 
Still  thair  weapons,  tho'  glutted,  were  raging  with  thirst ; 
And  each  chief,  in  the  charge,  seem'd  a  storm-stricken  oak, 
'Till  hurl'd  from  his  post  like  a  thunder-split  rock. 

As  midnight  aurora-lights  bursting  on  high, 

Emblaze  the  cloud-robe  of  the  star-bosom'd  sky, 

Thus  the  gore-colour'd  flash  of  the  swords'  quivering  blaze, 

Shot  its  flame  thro'  the  shroud  of  the  floating  blood-haze  : 

Broad  death-gaps  appear  in  the  hosts  on  each  side, 

Like  rents  made  in  banks  by  the  wrath  of  the  tide ; 

And  the  mingled  fight  seem'd  as  a  wood  half  blown  down, 

Part  waving  its  boughs  o'er  the  other  o'erthrown. 

The  fierce  Hy-mbloid  are  all  hew'd  on  the  plain, 
And  twenty  brave  chiefs  of  Clan  Cuilen  are  slain ; 
And  few  are  the  men  of  De  Clare+  left  to  tell, 
In  the  halls  of  Bunratty,  who  conquer'd  or  fell. 
Proud  Donogh's  heart's  blood  by  O'Connor  was  shed, 
And  Mortogh  the  Rough,  and  Brian  Berra  lie  dead  ; 
Teige  Luimnich  is  near,  with  his  broad  bosom  cleft, — 
Brian  Bane,  of  that  clan,  is  the  only  chief  left. 


*  O'Connor,  Prince  of  Corcomroe,  by  whose  hand  Donogh  O'Brien  fell. 

1- "  The  De  Clare's  policy  was  to  foment  continual  quarrels  between  the 
senior  and  junior  branches  of  the  House  of  Thomond,  and  this  policy  ended 
in  their  own  ruin,  for  they  drew  on  themselves  the  deadly  vengeance  of  the 
Thomonian  chiefs.  Out  of  2,950  stalwart  fighting  men  who  followed  De  Clare 
to  the  field  of  Corcomroe,  only  25  returned  to  tell  the  story  at  Bunratty. 
That  was  the  third  deadly  check  their  power  received  in  Thomond.  The 
last,  and  most  fatal,  was  at  the  battle  of  Dysart,  where  they  were  all  hewn 
to  pieces."— Annalt  of  Thomond. 


230  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

In  the  halls  of  Clan  Cuilen  there's  many  a  tear, 
In  the  towers  of  Bunratty  there's  trembling  and  fear  ; 
And  the  death-wail  of  mourning  is  heard  from  Clonroad, 
To  the  blue-mantled  mountains  of  green  Hy-mbloid. 
In  the  old  abbey  churchyard  are  graves  deep  and  wide, 
And  there  the  slain  chieftains  are  laid  side  by  side ; 
Oh  !  soundly  they  rest  in  their  clay-beds  below — 
Thus  ended  the  battle  of  dark  Corcomroe. 


THE  WAR  SONG  OF  CLAN  CUILEN. 

SUNG  BY  ONE  OF  THE  BARDS  OF  THOMOND  IN  THE  CAMP  OP 
THE  MACNAMARAS,  ON  THE  NIGHT  BEFORE  THE  BATTLE  OF 
DYSART  O'DEA. 

Air.— "  O'Donnell  Aboo  /" 
Hark,  the  fierce  war-note  of  glorious  Clan  Cuilen  ! — 

The  warriors  of  Thomond  are  brightly  array 'd ; 
O'er  the  mist-shadow'd  heights  of  Hy-Fearmaic*  are  rolling, 
The  war-billows  crested  with  banner  and  blade. 
Up,  MacNamara  brave, 
Son  of  the  bounding  wave ! 
Let  the  red  sunbeams  blaze  on  the  steel  of  thy  spear  ! 
Flower  of  old  heroes  grand  ! 
Marshal  thy  mountain-band — 
Sweep  from  your  borders  the  ranks  of  De  Clare ! 

Bravely  the  princes  and  chiefs  are  surrounding 

The  old  regal  standard  of  kingly  O'Brien  ; 
Fiercely  their  death-telling  war-cries  are  sounding, 
And  their  swords  flash,  like  flames  in  a  desert  of  pine  ! 

Stern  and  valiant  men, 

O'Maly  and  brave  O'Quin ! 
O'Loughlin,  O'Halloran,  and  gallant  O'Hehir  ! 

All  march  in  proud  array, 

Led  by  the  bold  O'Dea, 
To  scourge  the  false  brigands  of  faithless  De  Clare! 

Redly  o'er  Thomond  the  war-fires  are  burning, 

Her  plains  are  laid  waste  and  her  mansions  laid  low ; 

Sadly  her  maidens  and  widows  are  mourning 
For  the  heroes  who  perish'd  at  dark  Corcomroe  !f 

♦The  ancient  name  of  the  barony  of  Inchiquin,  the  territory  of  the 
O'Deas  and  the  0' Quins.  From  the  O'Quins,  the  noble  lords  of  Adare  have 
descended. 

+  "The  battle  of  Corcomroe  was  fought  by  two  rival  princes  of  the  O'Briens, 
De  Clare  instigated  the  quarrel  by  espousing  the  claims  of  Donogh  O'Brien 
to  the  chieftaincy  which  Mortogh,  his  kinsman,  then  rightfully  held.  The 
usurper  and  his  adherents  were  defeated  with  great  loss.  Twenty-one  dis- 
tinguished chiefa  of  the  MacNamaras  fell  in  this  dreadful  engagement, 
fighting  in  defence  of  Mortogh's  right.  The  principal  chiefs  who  fell  in 
the  action  were  buried  in  the  Abbey  graveyard,  side  by  side,  with  prominent 
sharks  placed  over  their  graves,  which  were  visible  during  centuries  after 
the  atern  fight."— Annah  of  Thomond. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  231 

Norman  intrigue  and  wrong 

Wrought  her  destruction  long ! — 
But  now  by  our  fathers'  proud  spirits  we  swear, 

Soul  and  sword  to  unite 

In  one  strong  chain  of  might, 
And  root  from  our  valleys  the  spoiler,  De  Clare  ! 

Darkly  our  foes  at  Bunratty  assemble 

On  the  rich  meads  and  ploughlands  which  lately  wTere  ours — 
Clan  Cuilen  shall  soon  make  the  fierce  robbers  tremble, 
When  her  wild  lion  war-yell  shall  ring  thro'  their  towers ! 

Rise  MacNamara  proud; 

Beam  of  the  battle-cloud  ! 
Fling  the  bright  wave  of  thy  standard  in  air  ; 

March  in  the  glorious  van 

Of  thy  intrepid  clan — 
Wreak  thy  red  vengeance  on  faithless  De  Clare  ! 

The  banners  of  famed  Corcomroe's  noble  leaders, 
O'er  bright-flaming  ridges  of  war-axes  wave  ; 

The  pride  of  the  soil,  and  the  dread  of  invaders, 
O'Conor  the  free,  and  O'Loghlin  the  brave ! 
Soon  shall  the  martial  flood 
Spread  its  broad  surge  of  blood, 

O'er  the  red  field  where  the  battle  shall  join — 
Gallowglass  grim,  and  kern 
Stalwart,  swift,  strong,  and  stern ! 

Strike  ye  for  Thomond  and  kingly  O'Brien ! 

Proudly  the  towers  of  Bunratty  are  flinging 

Their  dark  shadows  over  our  lordly  domains  ! 
Fiercely  the  Norman  marauders  are  bringing 
Death  to  our  people  and  woe  to  our  plains  ! — 
Rise  MacNamara  strong 
Scourger  of  tyrant- wrong  ! 
Let  thy  sword  o'er  the  dash  of  the  war-torrent  shine  ! 
Rout  the  wolves  from  their  lair — 
Death  to  the  false  De  Clare — 
Strike  for  Clan  Cuilen  and  kingly  O'Brien  ! 


THE  FAWN  OF  ARD  CREGAN. 
I  sat  on  the  brown  peak  of  sunny  Ard  Cregan, 

The  mountains  around  me  lay  gloomy  and  green ; 
And,  lit  by  the  daybeam,  the  calm,  kingly  Shannon, 

Like  a  broad  belt  of  gold,  round  the  landscape  was  seen ; 
The  fresh  wind  the  crimson-crown' d  broom-bush  was  bending, 

And  silence  seem'd  lulling  the  rich,  dreamy  scene, 
When,  like  a  white  moon-cloud  the  green  steep  ascending, 

Came  the  Fawn  of  the  dark  hills,  the  mild  Josephine. 


232  LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Oh,  welcome'  to  heaven,  you  sweet  one  of  beauty  ! 

Sure  none  but  your  innocent  feet  should  have  trod 
Those  grand  hills,  so  near  the  high  gate  of  the  angels, 

Where  nature  is  whispering  alone  with  her  God. 
Your  presence,  bright  maiden,  is  like  a  May  sunbeam, 

Whose  loveliness  sweetens  the  lone,  rural  scene  ; 
No  flower  looks  so  gentle — no  sunbeam  so  radiant — 

Nor  hill-spring  so  beauteous  as  fair  Josephine  ! 

The  sun-clouds  are  smiling  with  joy  to  behold  you, 

As  o'er  the  brown-summits  their  shadows  are  roll'd  ; 
They  lift  up  their  silvery  veils  to  enfold  you, 

And  shake  crystal  drops  on  your  head's  wavy  gold. 
While  I  gaze  on  your  bright  wreath  of  ringlets  endearing 

My  heart,  like  an  eagle,  is  lifted  with  pride, 
To  see  you,  oh,  lovely  young  Fawn  of  Ard  Cregan  ! 

So  graceful  and  free  on  your  native  hill's  side  ! 

And  now  as  I  sit  by  the  red  mountain-blossom, 

The  rich  banquet-cup  of  the  golden  hill-bee  ; 
I  dream  of  the  days  when  the  daughters  of  heroes 

Strayed  here,  in  their  sweet,  native  beauty,  like  thee  ! 
But  I'll  come  to  those  old  hills  again  to  salute  thee, 

Tho'  long  is  the  way,  with  dark  valleys  between  ! 
We  love  heaven  and  nature  because  of  their  beauty, 

And  you  as  their  darling  child,  fair  Josephine  ! 


A  MOTHER  AT  THE  GRAVE  OF  HER  ONLY  SON. 

White  dove  of  my  heart  did  you  leave  me  so  soon  ? 

Ere  your  manhood's  young  spring  saw  its  sweet  summer  noon 

When  to  you  the  fond  milk  of  my  bosom  I  gave, 

Did  I  think  'twas  to  nourish  a  flower  for  the  grave  ? 

Sure  your  young  brow  was  fair  as  the  white  Drinan  Donn, 
Or  the  rich  apple  blossom  that  glows  in  the  sun  ; 
The  soft  evening  mist  and  the  stain  of  the  sky 
Only  pictured  your  hair  and  the  blue  of  your  eye ! 

When  the  young,  dark-eyed  Colleens  were  smiling  on  thee, 
I  was  wild  lest  they'd  take  your  affection  from  me  ; 
But  ne'er  did  I  dream  that  the  sad  hour  was  near 
When  I'd  see  you,  oh,  darling  !  so  lonely  laid  here  ! 

The  morning  sun  round  me  is  blazoning  the  dew, 
But  the  morning,  astoir,  brings  no  sunbeam  to  you  ! 
On  your  pillow  of  dust  you  are  coldly  asleep, 
Ana  your  poor,  bereaved  mother  unheeded  may  weep  ! 

You  were  kind  as  the  bloom  of  your  own  native  sod, 
And  you  fill'd  me  with  joy,  like  an  angel  from  God 
.  But, the  brain -burning  fever  came  on  you,  astoir  ! 
And  it  took  you  away,  and  I'll  see  you  no  more  ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  233 

Dread  God,  whose  tremendous  and  mystical  power 
Could  shatter  a  world,  or  shelter  a  flower  ! 
I  bow  down  my  soul  to  thy  fathomless  will ! 
But  my  heart  for  my  darling  is  sorrowful  still ! 

If  I  rave  o'er  the  dust  where  my  lost  treasure  sleeps, 
'Tis  not  I  but  fond  nature  that  murmurs  and  weeps ! 
Oh,  think,  blessed  Lord,  when  thy  death-hour  came  on, 
How  thy  own  Mother  sorrow'd'and  wept  for  her  Son! 

Her  hot  tears  were  shed  for  thy  sufferings  and  Thee, 
As  she  wept  in  her  anguish,  as  friendless  as  me  ! 
But  Heaven  remembered  its  dear,  future  Queen, 
And  the  angels  wept,  with  her,  unheard  and  unseen ! 

Yet  why  should  I  dare  breathe  one  sigh  of  regret, 
Since  you  call'd  my  poor  child,  with  your  angels  to  sit  ? 
Why  should  I  complain  or  repine  at  my  loss, 
Since  yourself,  oh,  dear  Saviour!  expired  on  a  cross  ? 

Oh!  my  heart  at  the  dread  picture  trembles  and  heaves, 
To  think  how  you  bled  'midst  blasphemers  and  thieves ! 
While  your  Mother,  with  soul-cleaving  torture  and  grief, 
Beheld  you  expire,  and  could  yield  no  relief! 

My  poor  child  was  cherish'd,  and  sheltered,  and  fed, 
But  her  Child  was  houseless  and  hungry  for  bread ; 
My  poor  child  had  weeping  friends  at  his  bedside, 
But  her  Child  was  tortured  and  mock'd  as  He  died  ! 

Oh!  the  veins  of  my  cold  bosom  shudder  with  dread, 
To  think  how  He  suffer'd,  and  hunger'd,  and  bled, 
Black  want,  woe,  and  sorrow  were  His  from  His  birth, 
Tho'  He  gave  to  mankind  all  the  fruits  of  the  earth ! 

The  death-pangs  which  made  my  poor  darling  complain, 
Were  as  roses  compared  to  the  Holy  One's  pain ! 
Oh,  Father  of  Love !  glorified  be  thy  throne  ! 
You  were  kinder  to  mine  than  you  were  to  your  own  ! 

THE  BANKS  OF  BLACKWATER.* 

Now  the  glowing  skies  of  golden  Spring, 
New  blooms  to  the  sunny  woodlands  bring ; 
The  wild  bee  waves  his  glancing  wing, 

By  the  lonely,  green  banks  of  Blackwater ; 
There  the  nut  hangs  brown  in  the  hazel  shades, 
And  the  sweet-brier's  spray  in  the  fresh  wind  breathes  ; 
And  the  wild  roses  blush,  like  bridal  maids, 

On  the  lonely,  green  banks  of  Blackwater. 

*  The  picturesque  valley  of  Blackwater  lies  in  the  county  Clare,  about 
three  miles  north  of  Limerick.  It  is  the  estate  of  Colonel  T.  S.  MacA-dam. 
Its  ancient  name  was  Ballykillawn  or  Ballykilowen.  '•  , 

16  v 


234  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  primroses  glow  in  the  emerald  wold,;] 
And  the  hawthorns  flower  in  their  bushy  hold  ; 
And  the  low  furze  spreads  its  blossomy  gold, 

On  the  lonely,  green  banks  of  Blackwater. 
The  glistening  river  swells  and  roars, 
And  the  ash-groves  rise,  like  vernal  towers  ; 
And  the  honey- dew  streams  on  the  bending  flowers, 

By  the  lonely,  green  banks  of  Blackwater. 

The  hills  are  white  with  the  bleating  flocks, 
The  linnets  sing  o'er  the  bush-grown  rocks  ; 
And  the  fairies  play  round  the  shadowy  oaks, 

By  the  lonely,  green  banks  of  Blackwater. 
The  lilies  hang  o'er  the  waterfalls, 
Where  the  bright  trout  play  in  their  sandy  halls  ; 
And  the  steep  banks  rise,  like  castle-walls, 

O'er  the  crystalline  waves  of  Blackwater. 

Of  all  the  sweet  scenes  where  the  Flower-queen  roves, 
That  the  sun-crown'd  spirit  of  Summer  loves, 
Give  me  the  dark  lawns  and  the  grand,  old  groves 

Of  beautiful,  wild  Blackwater  ! 
The  rosy  blessings  of  health  are  there, 
In  the  spring-balm  breath  of  the  fragrant  air  ; 
Even  gloom-brow'd  winter  looks  calm  and  fair, 

In  the  sweet,  sunny  vale  of  Blackwater. 

May  thy  heaven-crown'd  hills  be  ever  bright,—- 
May  no  evil  fiend  wave  his  wings  of  blight 
O'er  thy  pleasant  fields  and  thy  vales  of  light, 

Fair-bosom'd,  flowery  Blackwater  ! 
In  my  dreams  thy  towering  woods  I  see, 
And  again,  in  boyhood's  reckless  glee, 
My  soul  on  her  wild  bird-wing  is  free, 

By  the  lonely,  green  banks  of  Blackwater. 


REQUIEM  FOR  TORLOGH  O'BRIEN.* 

CROWNED  KING  OF  THOMOND,  A.D.  1280. 

Sing  the  deeds  of  the  kingly  chief,  glorious  and  gallant ! 
Sing  the  fields  of  his  victories,  bloody  and  brilliant  i 
Sing  his  grandeur  of  soul  that  was  lofty  and  regal, 
As  the  lightning-scorched  wing  of  the  cloud-cleaving  eagle! 

•  "He died  in  1306,  at  his  palace  of  Clonroad,  after  a  prosperous  reien 
and  a  turbulent  career  of  success.  He  was  the  greatest  scourge  that  the 
Normans- had  to  contend  with.  At  one  swoop  he  plundered  and  burned 
heir  ill-got  possessions,  and  overthrew  their  castles  from  Thomond  to 
£oughal,and  onhis  return  compelled  Richard  De  Clare  to  come  out  of 
Bunratty  Castle  and  make  submission  on  his  knees."— Annals  of  Thomond 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  235 

Tho'  the  white  ice  of  death  on  his  cold  bier  has  bound  him, 
With  his  fiery-eyed  warriors,  in  tear-floods,  around  him, 
Yet  the  awful-brow 'd  spirit  of  war  hovers  near  him, 
And  his  dark  frown  would  still  make  his  enemies  fear  him  ! 

Look  back — ere  his  life's  mighty  current  was  frozen — 
To  the  days  when  bright  victory  named  him  her  chosen  ; 
When  at  sylvan  Moyadair  Dalcassia's  tribes  crown'd  him, 
And  the  shouts  of  their  valour  rang  proudly  around  him  ; 
How  he  stood  in  their  midst,  like  the  tower  of  the  Ghebre, 
While  the  flashes  of  heaven  seem'd  born  of  his  sabre ; 
As  he  look'd  in  the  ring  of  their  steel-blazing  centre, 
Like  a  grand  spirit  throned  'mid  the  meteors  of  winter ! 

Remember  the  day  when  the  plain  of  Magressian, 
Saw  the  mad,  fiery  wave  of  his  battle-brands  pressing 
On  the  wrathful  Brian  Roe,  with  his  Norman  forayers, 
How  his  falchion  made  roads  thro'  the  mass  of  the  slayers  ? 
When  the  mail'd  chiefs  of  Connaught  his  standard  surrounded, 
And  the  clang  of  their  shields,  like  a  cascade,  resounded, 
As  they  charged  from  the  war-field  the  ruthless  banditti, 
Like  a  flying  steel-grove,  to  the  towers  of  Bunratty. 

Then  to  see  the  King- victor,  how  awful  his  bearing, 
How  grand  and  defiant — how  noble  and  daring ! 
Begirt  by  his  clans,  with  their  polished  spears  lifted, 
Like  snow  on  the  crest  of  the  mountain  woods  drifted, 
When  the  starry-brow'd  north's  icy  night-breathing  renders 
The  dim,  wat'ry  flakes  into  icicle-splendours, 
While  they  hang  from  the  boughs,  in  a  diamond-cluster, 
With  the  dawn's  golden  ring  round  their  crystalline  lustre. 

Oh  !  never  did  king  to  the  battle  march  prouder, — 
And  the  trumpet  of  death  than  his  shout  was  not  louder ; 
And  who  of  his  foes  was  match  worthy  to  strike  him  ? 
Or  who  in  the  field  led  the  fiery  charge,  like  him  ? 
Old  Thomond  is  proud  of  the  glory  he  gave  her, 
For  he  stood  on  the  neck  of  the  Norman  enslaver ; 
And  his  praise,  like  the  song  of  a  giant,  ascended, 
From  Ival  the  grand  to  Kinkora  the  splendid. 

On  the  field  of  Tradree  the  fierce  Norman-bands  found  him,* 
With  his  lightning-eyed  war-eagles  trooping  around  him ; 
There  the  red  web  of  fate  by  his  brave  hand  was  woven, 
And  the  ranks  by  his  axes,  like  cloud  pillars,  cloven, 

*  "  A.D.  1287 .  At  the^battle  of  Tradree  he  encountered  Thomas  De  Clare, 
the  founder  of  Bunratty  Castle,  ',in  single  combat,  and  clove  him  from 
shoulder  to  heart  with  one  stroke  of  his  war-axe.  The  Norman  army  fled 
in  wild  panic  before  him,  and  ere  they  could  gain  the  shelter  of  their  ram- 
parts, they  were  almost  destroyed  to  a  man.  Along  with  Thomas  De  Clare, 
and  his  kinsman  Fitzmaurice,  Sir  Richard  Taaffe,  Sir  Richard  de  Exeter, 
and  several  other  persons  of  distinction  were  slain."— Annals  of  Thomond. 


236  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Oh  !  to  see  proud  De  Clare,  with  his  broad  shoulder  sever'd, 
How  his  limbs,  drenched  with  blood,  in  his  death-struggle 

shiver'd, 
While  his  knights  lay  around,  like  tall  hill-oaks  o'erturn'd, 
With  their  broad,   waving  boughs  by  the    thunder-flames 

burn'd. 

As  the  wind-god — in  terrible  glory  uprisen 
From  the  red-meteor  couch  of  his  dingy-cloud  prison — 
Bursts  down  on  the  sea,  while  the  big  waves  awaken, 
Like  a  chain  of  snow-hills  by  an  earthquake  up  shaken  ; 
So  burst  o'er  the  land  Torlogh's  steel-forests  glowing, 
The  castles  and  towers  of  the  Norman  o'erthrowing ; 
Ah  !  he  scatter'd  their  strongholds  from  crag,  glen  and  by- 
way, 
As  the  blast  sweeps  the  dust  from  the  dry  summer-highway. 

And  the  people  rejoiced  when,  from  warfare  and  foray, 

He  march'd  to  his  halls,  'mid  the  trophies  of  glory  ; 

Like  a  comet  of  light,  o'er  the  tempest-fields  burning, 

With  its  diadem  of  fire,  to  its  orbit  returning. 

Gold  shower'd  from  his  hand  'mong  the  Ollavs  and  Sages, 

Who  gave  a  pure  spirit  of  life  to  lore's  pages  ; 

And  the  hoary-brow'd  priest,  and  the  peasant-maid  simple, 

Offer'd  prayers  for  his  weal,  in  the  Holy  One's  temple. 

Death  stole,  like  a  blast  from  a  desert-cloud  dreary, 
And  struck  the  proud  eagle  while  perch'd  in  his  eyrie  ; 
In  the  crimson-dyed  paths  of  the  warfield  he  shunn'd  him, 
But  watched,  in  his  peace  hours,  the  vantage  to  wound  him. 
Oh!  would  that  he  fell  'mid  the  sea-dash  of  slaughter, 
With  the  blood  of  his  foes  rolling  round  him,  like  water  ! 
How  proudly  his  ghost,  o'er  the  battle-clang  glorious, 
Would  look  on  the  field  where  his  clans  were  victorious  ! 

One  night  while  the  moon's  yellow  splendour  was  bright'ning, 

Yon  mossy-branched  oak  that  was  slain  by  the  lightning, 

The  white-sheeted  Banshee  his  coronach  chanted 

At  the  foot  of  that  old  tree,  by  carnage-birds  haunted. 

And  ere  the  Day-herald  gave  silvery  warning, 

To-night  to  make  way  for  the  pageant  of  morning ; 

The  fierce  eagle-soul  of  the  hero  was  winging, 

Where  yon  bright  aerial  wells  of  refulgence  are  springing. 


THE  COTTAGE  MAID. 

The  bells  of  the  hill-broom  were  bright, 

And  each  cloud,  that  the  sun's  glory  swims  on, 

Prom  its  breast  flung  a  jewel  of  light, 
In  their  blossomy  rings  of  deep  crimson. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND  237 

Mother  Nature  demanded  a  draught 
From  the  rain-god,  who  instantly  gave  it, 

While  her  young  infant  blossom-buds  laugh 'd, 
As  they  held  their  sweet  mouths  to  receive  it. 

I  turn'd  from  the  road  to  a  cot, 

With  a  helmet  of  straw  newly  crested ; 
Beside  the  low  entrance  I  sat — 

On  a  bench  of  green  fern  I  rested — 
The  pale,  yellow  border  of  thatch 

Spread  its  sheltering  canopy  o'er  me, 
When  click  went  the  sound  of  the  latch, 

And  out  stepp'd  an  angel  before  me  ! 

While  I  gazed  on  the  beautiful  form, 

The  blood  to  my  temples  was  rushing, 
As  her  face,  like  a  summer-noon  warm, 

Turn'd  towards  me,  half-smiling  and  blushing  ! 
Her  hair  look'd  like  gossamer-rings 

Woven  round  a  white  flower  by  the  fairies ; 
And  her  eyes  glanced,  like  two  sunny  springs 

Surrounded  by  snow-drops  and  berries. 

Have  you  seen — when  the  eve-spirit  spins 

Its  dim  weft  of  silver-barr'd  shadows — 
How  the  dew-mist  of  nightfall  begins 

To  weave  its  white  fringe  o'er  the  meadows  ? 
So  light  was  the  flow  of  her  gown 

Round  the  small  feet  that  glided  beneath  it, 
Half-seen,  like  the  cean-a-bhan's  down 

By  the  screen  of  the  fairy  heath  shaded. 

I  'rose  and  uncovered  my  head, 

My  form  to  a  bow  partly  swaying, 
Not  a  sentence  I  breathed,  or  said, 

My  heart  was  so  many  things  saying! 
She  invited  me  in  from  the  shower, 

With  an  accent  that  savour'd  of  laughter, 
While  she  gaily  return'd  to  the  door, 

And  I,  at  a  bound,  followed  after. 

I  sat,  at  her  cheerful  desire, 

On  a  chair,  while  herself  fill'd  another  ; 
And  there,  by  the  bright-blazing  fire, 

We  began  to  speak  with  each  other ; 
Our  topic  was  Old  Ireland's  cares, 

And  her  rights  in  the  hand  of  a  stranger ; 
Then  I  humm'd  o'er  a  few  Irish  Airs, 

And  gloriously  sang  the  "  Avenger  /" 


238  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND 

I  watch'd  how  the  soul  in  her  eyes, 

To  the  sound  of  the  measure  kept  dancing, 
Like  a  sunburst  that  shoots  from  the  skies, 

Thro'  the  azure-fringed  summer-clouds  glancing. 
I  mark'd  how  the  lily  and  rose, 

On  her  cheek,  in  their  sweet  play,  changed  places, 
Each  lighting  its  hue  to  disclose 

The  kindest  and  brightest  of  faces. 

She  went  o'er  the  song,  every  part, 

And  said  that  my  singing  was  clever  ; 
While  her  image  leap'd  into  my  heart, 

To  remain  in  its  chamber  for  ever. 
The  rain-god's  oblation  was  o'er, 

And  the  sun-shafts  thro'  broken  clouds  darted, 
When  a  carriage  drove  up  to  the  door,* 

And  she  bade  me  farewell,-  and  departed. 


THE  EMIGRANT'S  STORY. 
One  morning  as  the  pearls  of  day 

Lay  fresh  upon  the  glistening  earth, 
A  peasant-crowd  came  down  the  way, 

With  sounding  fifes  and  reckless  mirth. 
Tall,  comely  youths  and  bright-faced  maids, 

And  men  mature,  composed  the  band  ; 
Mothers  and  sires  with  silvery  heads, 

Leaving  their  ill-starr'd  Native  Land. 
Alas !  the  landlord's  iron  hand 

Had  driven  them  from  their  homes  so  dear, 
To  seek  upon  a  foreign  strand, 

The  bread  which  Law  denied  them  here. 
Awhile  upon  the  road  they  stay'd, 

A  maniac- joy  they  seem'd  to  feel, 
'Mid  ringing  cheers,  each  youth  and  maid 

Began  to  dance  an  Irish  reel. 
Oh  !  playful  sorrow — every  brow 

Bright  as  a  rainbow-gleam  appears ; 
And  yet  those  eyes,  so  joyous  now, 

Are  only  cheated  of  their  tears  ! 

But  why  does  yonder  dark-brow'd  youth 

From  the  sad  pleasure  hold  apart  ? 
As  if  affliction's  poisonous  tooth, 

Was  fasten'd  in  his  suffering  heart  ? 

*  The  event  related  in  the  text,  happened  to  a  young  man  (an  acquaint- 
ance of  the  author),  in  a  certain  part  of  this  country.  Instead  of  a  pea- 
sant J  maiden,  who  he  supposed  was  his  entertainer,  he  had  enjoyed  the 
society  and  converse  of  a  noble  lord's  daughter,  in  the  cottage  of  one  of 
her  father's  tenants,  whilst  awaiting  the  arrival  of  some  of  her  lady  com- 
panions. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  239 

It  was  not  thus — some  months  agone, 

There  was  not  in  the  county  Clare, 
At  hurling,  dancing,  wit,  and  fun, 

A  happier  boy  than  Con  O'Hehir. 
One  of  the  regal  Dalcas  race, 

Proud,  generous,  hospitable,  bold, 
Mighty  in  form  and  fair  of  face, 

Like  his  brave,  high-soul'd  sires  of  old 
The  farm  he  held  was  but  a  mite 

Of  his  old,  patrimonial  lands  ; 
Even  that  became  a  stranger's  right, 

And  all  was  wrested  from  his  hands. 
Against  the  iron  will  of  fate 

He  struggled  on  'till  last  May-day, 
When  for  the  robber  Poor-law  rate, 

His  only  cow  was  driven  away. 
The  harvest  brought  a  blighted  crop, 

Potatoes  and  some  little  wheat, 
And  oats — the  markets  were  not  up, 

The  greedy  landlord  would  not  wait. 
The  agent,  like  the  devil,  ran, 

With  all  his  jackals  of  the  law, 
And  levell'd  Con's  poor  dwelling  down, 

And  turn'd  him  off,  not  worth  a  straw, 
While  on  the  bleak  and  bare  road-side, 

His  mother,  with  her  thin  hair  gray, 
Was  cast  to  die — and  would  have  died, 

By  the  cold  dyke,  that  bitter  day, 
But  a  poor  neighbour  took  her  in — 

(None,  save  the  poor,  feel  for  the  poor), 
And  ere  the  morn  awoke  again, 

Her  earthly  debt  of  pain  was  o'er ; 
And  at  her  low  and  lonely  bed, 

Her  stricken,  persecuted  son 
Bent  sullen  o'er  the  tranquil  dead, 

Yet  not  a  drop  of  sorrow  ran  ; 
With  silent,  stony,  tearless  stare, 

His  eyes  were  fixed  upon  the  breast 
That  nurtured  his  young  life  with  care, 

And  hush?d  his  infant  cries  to  rest. 
But  as  he  darkly  hung  above 

Those  eyes  where  now  no  soul-ray  burn'd, 
Her  former  smile,  and  look  of  love, 

Seem'd  still  upon  him  fondly  turn'd, 
As  if  her  spirit  linger'd  nigh, 

Ere  rising  to  its  heavenly  place, 
And  cast  from  its  celestial  eye, 

A  farewell  glance  upon  his  face  : 
She  look'd  as  if  she  slept  and  dream'd — 

In  her  cold  hand  the  cross  was  press'd ; 
And  beautiful  in  death  she  seem'd, 

In  Mary's  sacred  habit  dress'd. 


240  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

There  in  the  solitary  shed, 

At  the  first  dingy  gleam  of  day, 

The  all-atoning  Mass  was  said, 
For  the  poor  soul  that  pass'd  away. 

Still  Con,  with  gather'd  look  of  gloom, 

Bent  o'er  his  mother's  features  dim, 
As  if  no  living  breath  found  room 

Between  the  lonely  corpse  and  him. 
The  thought  flash'd  on  him — "  Was  she  flung 

"  Thus  in  the  twilight  of  her  years, 
To  perish  " — Oh !  his  soul  was  wrung, 

He  groaned  aloud,  and  burst  in  tears. 
"  Yes,  yes !"  he  shriek'd,   "I  could  not  save 

The  roof  that  shelter' d  your  gray  hair ! 
But  when  you're  lying  in  the  grave, 

No  agent  shall  molest  you  there  ! 
I  fondly  dreamt  some  brighter  day 

Would  dawn  upon  my  life's  dark  stage, 
When  I  might  struggle  to  repay, 

And  bless  you  in  your  helpless  age  ! 
While  God  would  give  me  health  and  strength 

To  win  the  meed  that  toil  secures, 
'Till  your  last  moment  would  be  spent, 

My  corner  and  my  heart  were  yours ! 
But  all  your  griefs  are  hush'd  to  rest, 

Here  on  this  damp  death-bed  of  straw ; 
You're  not  the  first,  nor  yet  the  last, 

Sent  to  the  grave  by  British  law  ! 
Rest  on — the  fiend  that  wrought  this  woe, 

Before  the  eyes  of  heaven  I  swear, 
This  very  night,  shall  lie  as  low, 

If  there  be  lead  or  steel  in  Clare ! 
And  though  I  wail  and  weep  for  thee — 

(Whatever  fate  your  son  befalls), 
Thank  God,  you  did  not  live  to  see 

The  poorhouse  and  its  dreary  halls  I 
Bless  death  !  that  spared  you  not  to  share 

The  double  dole  of  want  and  age  ! 
Bless  heaven  !  you  did  not  live  to  wear 

A  pauper's  vile,  detested  badge ! 
You  once  enjoyed  a  warm  house, 

When  I  was  in  my  boyhood's  dawn ; 
I  counted  then  a  hundred  cows 

Within  my  father's  milking  bawn ! 
The  wandering  scholar  was  our  guest, 

Your  hand  was  full  for  all  the  poor  ; 
The  traveller,  seeking  food  and  rest, 
.  Turn'd  joyful  to  our  friendly  door  ! 

/  If  lord  or  agent  wrong'd  you  then, 

Small  safe-guard  were  the  Saxon  laws ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  241 

Full  twice  two  hundred  daring  men, 

Would  rush  to  battle  in  your  cause  ! 
The  day  my  father's  corpse  was  brought 

To  the  old  Abbey-walls  of  Clare  ; 
The  Macs  and  Clancys  boldly  fought, 

His  coffin  to  the  grave  to  bear  !  * 
All,  all  are  gone,  and  you  have  none 

To  join  your  scanty  funeral  band  ! 
The  blessed  clay,  and  cold,  gray  stone, 

Must  be  laid  o'er  you  by  my  hand ! 
Yet,  if  from  their  dark  graves,  grass-grown 

Our  kindred  dead  could  speak  and  see, 
You  would  not  thus  be  lorn  and  lone, 

For  thousands  there  would  welcome  thee !" 

When  the  red  twilight  tinged  the  wave, 

They  brought  her  to  the  abbey  gray, 
And  laid  her  in  the  self-same  grave 

Where  years  before  her  husband  lay. 
A  plain  deal  coffin  wrapped  her  frame, 

The  price  of  it  a  neighbour  lent ; 
Her  epitaph — the  Saviour's  name — 

The  shamrock  sod,  her  monument. 
Her  funeral  cortege  numbered  ten, 

Her  humble  bier  was  borne  by  four, 
They  laid  her  down — the  grave  closed  in — 

They  said  one  prayer,  and  all  was  o'er. 
Peaceful  and  happy  she  sleeps  on, 

Untroubled  in  her  grassy  tomb  ; 
But  her  forlorn,  heart- wounded  son, 

Returns  to-night  without  a  home  ; 
And  ere  the  dawn-star  showed  its  ray, 

A  bloody  deed  his  hand  had  dyed  ; 
But  his  young  sweet-heart,  Peggy  Dea, 

Like  heaven  itself  was  at  his  side. 
Her  rich  heart  with  a  wild  bird's  bound, 

Into  his  very  being  flew ; 
The  darker  his  misfortunes  frown'd, 

The  stronger  her  affections  grew. 
Gentle  as  the  blessed  hour 

When  first  the  new-made  heavens  shone, 
She  was  the  only  desert  flower, 

By  mercy  in  his  dark  path  thrown. 
Since  childhood's  happy,  golden  day, 

Their  young  hearts  for  each  other  beat, 
Like  two  fair  sun-clad  boughs  of  May, 

Which  mix'd  their  leaves  and  blossoms  sweet. 


*  Fought  for  precedence  to  carry  the  coffin,  as  a  mark  of  their  respefc  and 
veneration  for  the  deceased.    The  custom  is  still  practised.  .  \ 


242  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Together  on  the  vernal  hills 

They  stray'd  when  summer's  buds  were  born ; 
Together,  o'er  the  bright-green  fields, 

They  went  to  Mass  each  Sunday  morn. 
But  never  to  her  eyes,  'till  now, 

Did  he  appear  so  stern  and  strange; 
The  gloom  of  anger  wrapt  his  brow 

Where  slept  the  lightning  of  revenge ; 
And  as  the  sunburst  of  her  gaze 

On  his  dark  features  cast  its  light, 
She  saw  his  awful  eyeballs  blaze, 

Like  wild-fire  on  a  bleak  March-night. 
With  clasped  hands  and  eyes  upraised 

She  gently  cried:  "Con!  Con  astore  ! 
'Tis  hard  upon  you — heaven  be  praised — 

But,  cushla,  think  of  it  no  more ! 
Believe  me,  dearest  love  !  ere  long, 

Bright  days  will  dawn  for  you — for  me — 
Forgive  the  author  of  your  wrong — 

Leave  him  to  God — astore  machree ! 
Come  to  my  father's  house,  and  share 

Our  fire-side,  and  our  bed,  and  board ; 
Oh  !  bright  shall  be  your  welcome  there 

To  everything  we  can  afford  ; 
Now,  dash  away  that  gloomy  scowl, 

It  ill  becomes  a  brow  so  fair — 
You  know  my  life,  my  heart  and  soul 

Are  yours,  dear  Con !  then  why  despair  ? 
My  parents  have  no  child  but  me, 

Their  farm  and  stock  shall  all  be  mine ; 
I'll  wed  no  other  youth  than  thee, 

And  all  we  hold  shall  all  be  thine! 
And  would  you  from  your  Peggy  part, 

A  hideous  deed  of  crime  to  do  ? 
And  would  you  break  her  faithful  heart 

That  loves  none,  under  heaven,  but  you? 
I'll  bare  my  bosom  to  the  blow — 

'Twere  mercy  by  your  hand  to  bleed ! 
Rather  than  live  to  feel  the  woe 

That  follows  murder's  crimson  deed  ! 
The  dread  .pursuit — the  sure  arrest, — 

The  sentence  of  the  vengeful  law  ! 
The  gazing  crowd,  with  breath  supprest, 

Around  the  scaffold's  scene  of  awe ! 
And  is  it  my  dear  Con  would  have 

The  rope  upon  his  white  neck  there, 
To  launch  him  to  a  felon's  grave, 

And  leave  his  Peggy  to  despair? 
Forbid  it,  Queen  of  Heaven !"  she  cried, 

And  flung  herself  unon  his  breast; 
Her  blue  eyes  melted  in  a  tide 

Of  rolling  tears  that  told  the  rest. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  243 

The  darkness  of  his  rigid  brow, 

Soften'd  to  light  and  roll'd  away, 
As  mist  that  wraps  the  mountain-snow 

Dissolves  before  the  eye  of  day. 
He  kiss'd  the  rose-bloom  of  her  cheek, 

And  said:  "Tho'  wrong'd  and  poor  I  be, 
I'm  not  so  heartless,  base  or  weak, 

As  to  give  pain  or  grief  to  thee ! 
Ay,  let  the  sordid  tyrant  live — 

His  worthless  blood  I  shall  not  take — 
Peggy !  I  could  forget — forgive — 

A  million  wrongs  for  your  dear  sake ! 
'Tis  not  the  dread  of  tyrant  laws 

That  makes  me  from  my  nurpose  start ; 
But  not  for  empires  would  I  cause 

One  pang  to  rend  your  loving  heart  1 
Tho'  fortune  and  the  world  may  prove 

To  me  a  quicksand  and  a  snare, 
The  brightness  of  your  constant  love 

Sweetens  my  cup  of  evil  there ! 
Farewell!  my  gentle,  angel  dear! 

My  lot  is  cast  in  other  lands, 
Where  fortune's  golden  meed  shall  cheer 

The  labour  of  my  toiling  hands ! 
I  will  return  to  you  again — 

But  never  penniless  and  poor — 
My  footstep  shall  not  cross,  'till  then, 

The  threshold  of  your  father's  door  ! 
Farewell — you  never  shall  regret 

The  love  and  care  bestow'd  on  me, 
And  trust  me,  I  will  not  forget 

The  suffering  land  I  leave — and  thee !" 
He  wrung  her  hand,  and  kiss'd  her  brow — 

Their  gushing  hearts' -showers  mixed  in  one- 
He  whisper'd  in  her  ear  a  vow — 

Breathed  a  blessing — and  was  gone. 


THE  PRINCESS  FINOLA.* 

Saw  ye  the  young  Princess  Finola  the  bright, 
With  her  ringlets,  like  sun-glories  spun  from  the  light  ? 
And  her  shoulders  of  beauty,  whose  white  waxen  mould 
Seems  a  turret  of  marble  o'erclouded  with  gold  ? 

*  Finola,  i.e.,  "  Fair  shoulder."  She  was  one  of  the  daughters  of  Connor 
na  Srona  O'Brien,  King  of  Thomond  (a.d.  1466),  and  became  the  wife  of 
Hugh  Boe  O'Donnell,  Prince  of  Tyrconnell  and  grandfather  to  the  cele- 
brated Red  Hugh,  who  made  such  glorious  resistance,  in  conjunction  frith 
Hugh  O'Neill,  against  the  armies  of  Queen  Elizabeth. 


244  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Have  ye  seen,  when  the  dawn  from  its  purple-draped  throne, 
Announces  the  gorgeous  approach  of  the  sun — 
The  rose-dyes  that  burst  thro'  the  mist-fringes  white  ? 
So  gentle's  the  blush  of  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  mark'd  on  the  emerald  finger  of  Spring, 
All  set  in  dew-diamonds,  the  daisy's  sweet  ring, 
With  a  rich,  scarlet  border  encircling  its  white? 
Such  the  teeth  and  the  lips  of  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  seen  a  young  apple-tree  stirr'd  by  the  wind 
Which  runs  off  with  its  sweets,  and  then  drops  them  behind  ; 
While  its  blossoms  all  shake  with  a  laugh  of  delight  ? 
So  heaves  the  fair  breast  of  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  seen,  when  the  snow-spirit  moveth  on  high, 
Thro'  his  silver-cloud  palace-halls  hung  in  the  sky — 
How  the  thin  vapour-drapery  floats  in  the  light  ? 
Such  the  motion  and  ease  of  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  seen,  when  the  moon  thro'  the  twilight  blue  swims, 
A  bed  of  May-lilies  asleep  on  their  stems, 
How  they  glow,  in  their  dreams,  with  the  kisses  of  night  ? 
Such  the  small  hand  and  foot  of  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  seen,  when  the  brown-bosom' d  harvest  comes  on, 
How  the  ripe-glist'ning  blackberries  glance  in  the  sun, 
When  the  sudden  beams  burst  on  the  mountain's  blue  height  ? 
Such  the  dark -glowing  eyes  of  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  heard,  in  the  Spring  time  of  Fancy's  young  dreams, 
The  sounding  of  harps  or  the  singing  of  streams, 
When  the  dawn  of  first  love  steeps  the  soul  in  its  light  ? 
So  sweet  is  the  voice  of  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  seen,  when  the  eve  of  a  sweet  summer  day, 
Like  the  soul  of  a  dying  saint,  stealeth  away, 
How  calm  Nature  rests  in  the  blue  heaven's  sight  ? 
So  gentle  and  kind  is  Finola  the  bright. 

Have  ye  seen,  in  the  heart  of  the  lily's  white  bell, 
A  pure,  morning- crystal  from  heaven's  blue  well, 
Glancing  tremblingly  up  at  its  birthplace  of  light  ?  •' 

So  rich  is  the  soul  of  Finola  the  bright. 


NIGHT-THOUGHTS. 

The  yellow-orbed  moon  o'er  the  blue  mountain  hung, 
And  the  Bells  of  the  Legend  their  night-anthem  rung, 
While  the  angels  seem'd  catching  the  echoes  on  high, 
As  if  deeming  their  music  too  glorious  to  die ; 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  345 

I  stood  by  the  rush  of  the  waters  alone, 
And  the  sound  of  those  bells  brought  a  dream  in  its  tone, 
For  I  thought  of  the  bright  hours  when,  happy  and  free, 
I  stole,  in  the  calm  summer- twilights,  to  thee  ! 

How  pensive  the  soul  thro'  life's  desert  looks  back 

On  joy's  wither'd  flowers  left  behind  on  our  track ; 

While  the  brightness  they  wore,  and  the  pleasure  they  gave, 

On  memory's  lone  altar  their  sweet  pictures  leave. 

Oh !  oft  has  my  heart  those  bright  images  view'd, 

And  wished  that  their  lifetime  again  were  renew'd  ; 

But,  'midst  their  dim  sunset  of  beauty,  I  see 

No  night-cloud  between  my  fond  dreamings  and  thee  ! 

Tho'  the  sun-gleams  which  brighten'd  my  spirit  were  few, 

And  brief  were  the  summer-enjoyments  I  knew  ; 

For  my  heart-flowers,  which  panted  to  burst  into  bloom, 

Were  born  where  no  kind  beams  nor  soft  winds  would  come. 

Yet  one  blossom  has  grown  there,  all  lovely  and  bright, 

Which  the  frigid  north  blast  of  misfortune  can't  blight ; 

For  the  sun  that  gave  verdure  and  life  to  its  tree, 

Was  made  of  the  soul-smiles  my  heart  caught  from  thee! 

And  oft  in  the  night-hour  my  rapt  bosom  swells, 
With  sorrowful  delight  when  I  hear  those  sweet  bells  ; 
For  their  tone  on  the  ear  of  my  spirit  is  cast, 
Like  the  voice  of  dead  joys  from  the  grave  of  the  past. 
Then  I  think  of  the  hours  which  thy  kind  smiles  made  dear, 
'Till  each  fond  thought  leaps  up  from  my  heart,  with  a  tear, 
Like  wild  summer-bees,  on  their  dew-kissing  wings, 
All  laden  with  honey,  but  arm'd  with  stings. 

Oh  !  would  that  my  grave  were  on  yonder  bright  hill, 

Where  the  moon's  yellow  curtain  hangs  dewy  and  still ; 

My  heart  to  its  death-sleep  I'd  calmly  resign, 

If  I  thought  thy  dear  ashes  would  mingle  with  mine ! 

Our  hearts  in  one  grave,  and  our  fond  souls  above — 

On  earth  and  in  heaven  united  in  love ; 

And  my  heavenliest  joy  in  that  bright  sphere  would  be, 

In  thy  pure  angel-brightness,  to  gaze  upon  thee  ! 


GARADH  EARLA*  AND  THE  TWO  COOPERS. 

A  LEGEND   OF*  LOGUH  GUR. 

Once  on  a  sunbright  holiday, 
Sometime,  methinks,  in  June  or  May — 
I  cannot  name  the  day  exact, 
Altho'  my  story  is  a  fact — 

*  It  is  said  that  Garadh  Earla  haunts  Lough  Gur,  and  is,  at  certain  times, 
seen  riding  his  war-horse  over  the  waters,  like  the  O'Uonoghue  at  the  Lakes 
of  Killaraey. 


246  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND, 

Two  coopers  who,  for  months,  were  wishing 
To  spend  some  pleasant  hours,  in  fishing, 
Arose,  with  morning's  earliest  beam, 
Glad  in  the  prospect  of  their  game. 
If  you  require  their  names  to  know 
I'll  introduce  them — Jim  and  Joe — 
Two  craftsmen  of  as  gallant  mettle, 
As  ever  used  an  adze  or  whittle. 

Their  workshop  was  the  sole  resort 

Of  every  wag  that  look'd  for  sport ; 

And  there  the  wildest  tales  were  told 

Of  fairies,  ghosts,  and  hidden  gold. 

How  Terry  Flynn  and  Darby  Roche 

Were  blinded  by  the  Headless  Coach, 

For  peeping  through  the  keyhole  out, 

To  watch  it  in  its  midnight  route. 

How  lame  Teige  Connell's  house  was  haunted, 

But  Teige  himself  was  never  daunted, 

Altho'  the  grisly  spirit  maul'd  him, 

And  half-way  up  the  chimney  haul'd  him ; 

How  a  young  woman  of  the  Leary's 

Was  nursing  babies  for  the  fairies ; 

And  how  the  mournful  banshee  cried, 

Before  Paudh  Hehir's  mother  died. 

How  drunken,  roaring  Paul  Magee 

Dreamt  there  was  gold  beneath  a  tree, 

Hid  in  Bill  Ryan's  garden-end, 

Close  watch'd  and  guarded  by  a  fiend. 

And  how,  one  night,  to  raise  a  spree, 

Paul  brought  a  spade  to  root  the  tree; 

But  a  huge  dog,  as  black  as  hell, 

Leap'd  at  his  throttle,  with  a  yell ; 

Paul  used  his  shanks,  at  headlong  flight, 

And  fainted  when  he  saw  the  light.* 

With  such  wild  legendary  feasts, 

Brave  Jim  and  Joe  regaled  their  guests ; 

And  while  the  curious  yarns  were  spun, 

Tubs,  casks,  and  cans  were  left  undone. 

But  if  the  listeners  laugh'd  or  sneer'd, 

At  once  a  hostile  scene  appear'd,  * 

For  Jim  and  Joe,  with  staves  and  cleavers, 

Routed  the  clan  of  disbelievers. 

But  to  proceed — the  morning  broke, 
And  Jim,  from  pleasant  dreams  awoke ; 
And  giving  sleepy  Joe  a  kick, 
Dislodged  him  from  the  pillow  quick ; 

•  It  is  believed  that  any  person  who  sees  an  apparition,  faints  imme- 
diately on  looking  at  the  light  of  a  candle. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  247 

And  drove  him  tumbling  from  the  bed, 

About  the  floor,  upon  his  head. 

Joe  clench'd  his  fist — began  to  swear — 

And  pray'd  for  Jim  an  early  prayer ; 

But  as  his  neck-bone  was  not  broke, 

He  changed  his  temper  to  a  joke. 

"  Oh  !  Joe,"  says  Jim,  "  I  dreamt,  last  night, 

A  pike,  as  big  as  Barrington's-quay, 
Snapp'd  at  my  bait,  and,  with  a  bite, 

Took  rod  and  line,  and  wheel  away  ! 
I  saw  him  chop  the  hickory  rod, 
Just  as  a  bullock  chews  the  cud  : 
About  the  hook  he  cared  as  little, 
Even  as  I  to  swing  a  whittle  ! 
But  when  the  rod  was  chopp'd  and  swallow'd, 
He  raised  his  head,  and  roar'd,  and  bellow'd  ; 
And  leap'd  to  gulp  me  for  his  luncheon, 
Opening  his  huge  mouth,  liks  a  puncheon  ! 
I  thought  to  run — but  devil  a  shin 

Could  I  draw  upwards  from  the  mud, 
And  there,  for  more  than  minutes  ten, 

As  firmly  as  if  hoop'd,  I  stood ! 
Until  I  found  his  huge  jaws  both 

Coming  in  contact  with  my  ears, 
And  headlong  down  his  mighty  throat 

r  roll'd,  as  one  would  fall  down  stairs ! 
I  landed  safely  in  his  maw, 

Across  my  eyes  I  drew  my  hand — 
And  look'd  about — and  found — and  saw 

That  I  was  in  Australia's  land. 
Up  came  my  sister  to  my  side, 

Biddy,  and  my  poor  uncle  Tim  ; 
'  Oh  !  mona-mon-doul  /'  they  wildly  cried, 
'  You're  welcome  from  ould  Ireland — Jim ! 
Say,  how  the  devil  did  you  come, 
And  how  are  all  the  friends  at  home  ; 
Tell  us  of  everyone  that  married, 
And  everyone  that's  dead  and  buried  ! 
Does  Ireland  still  pay  all  England's  debt  ? 
Or  is  O'Connell  speeching  yet  ? 
We're  told  they  put  him  into  jail, 
For  only  asking  the  Repeal ! 
We  heard  by  Paddy  Croker's  letter, 
That  all  the  Praties  fail'd  together  ; 
That  poor  John  Mitchell  was  transported, 
Because  he  was  so  valiant-hearted, 
To  tell  the  people  to  get  pikes, 
Before  they'd  die  like  dogs  in  dykes  ! 
That  Meagher  and  Q'Brien  had  gone 
To  raise  a  row  at  Slieve-na-mon ; 


248  LAYS   AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

That  they  were  taken — tried — condemn'd  ;— 
And  Doheny  hunted,  like  a  fiend  ; 
That  Duffy,  Reilly — patriots  true — 
Dishearten'd,  knew  not  what  to  do  ; 
For  England,  with  one  wily  stroke, 
The  heart  of  Patriotism  broke. 

If  Ireland  stands  such  work  much  longer, 
Why,  by  my  soul,  she'll  die  of  hunger  ! 
Oh  !  better  die  in  Freedom's  battle, 
Than  suffer  more  than  horned  cattle!' 

"  'Welcome  or  not !'  says  I,  'I've  come 
To  the  New  World — and  here  I  am ! 
Tho'  devil  a  ship,  or  steamer  going 
On  water,  did  I  put  a  toe  in  ! 
But  as  to  news — I'll  tell  ye  nothing — 
For  ye  have  such  a  large  stock  got  in  ; 
Ye  are  as  cramm'd  with  information, 
As  if  ye  swallow 'd  Duffy's  Nation. 
Now  if  I  could  attain  my  wish — 
The  devil  roast  that  hungry  fish — 
I'd  give  Australia — land  and  main — 
To  be  in  Ireland,  back  again !' 

'"If  that  be  all  that  ails  you,  Jim,' 

Cried — with  a  laugh — my  uncle  Tim, 

'  Your  friends  are  ready  to  befriend  you, 

And  back  to  Ireland  safe  they'll  send  you  ! 

But  wear  this  keepsake  for  us  both, 

It  is  a  warm  gold-frieze-coat ; 

I  purchased  it  from  Paddy  Higgins, 

Who  said  he  found  it  at  the  diggins  !' 

'Bravo !'  says  I — and  on  it  went — 

Och !  zounds  !  I  look'd  a  monument 

Of  glittering  gold,  as  soft  and  fine, 

As  if  I  were  dug  out  o'  the  mine  V 

But  soon  it  lost  its  golden  hue, 

And  quickly  into  paper  grew  ; 

And  there  I  was — upon  my  oath — 

Enveloped  closely,  like  a  note. 

'  Maybe  !'  says  I,  '  I  am  a  letter, 

With  money  in  it — devil  a  better — 

Or  maybe  that  my  uncle  sends 

Me  for  his  likeness  to  his  friends  !" 

"  Off  to  the  post  at  once  they  took  me, 

And  headlong  through  the  port-hole  stuck  me  ; 

And  in  I  tumbled,  white  and  fair, 

As  well  as  any  letter  there  ! 

'  God  save  all  here  !'  I  kindly  said, 

Just  as  I  roll'd  upon  my  head  ; 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  249 

And  snugly  lay  among  the  pack, 

With  an  inscription  on  my  back  ! 

But  very  soon  we  were  haul'd  out, 

And  for  our  quarters  got  the  route  ; 

The  postman  press'd  me  with  a  stamp, 

'Till  in  my  ribs  I  got  a  cramp ; 

And  only — between  you  and  me — . 

I  didn't  like  to  let  him  see 

I  was  a  man,  and  not  a  letter, 

I'd  make  the  rascal  treat  me  better ! 

Into  a  thing  they  call  the  Mail, 

Smaller  and  darker  than  a  jail, 

He  stuck  me,  with  some  dozens  more, 

Directed  to  the  Irish  shore  ! 

Scarce  had  I  landed  safely,  when 

We  were  all  stamp'd  and  bagg'd  again, 

And  thro'  the  city  hawk'd  about, 

From  house  to  house,  like  plaice  or  trout. 

The  carrier  took  me  in  his  hand, 

'  Money  !'  he  mutter' d,  very  low — 
I  knew  at  once  the  fellow  plann'd 

To  open  me — my  worth  to  know — 
*  Murder!'  roar'd  I,  from  the  envelope — 

He  dropp'd  me,  like  a  coal  of  fire, 
And  off  he  scamper 'd,  in  a  gallop, 
And  left  me  lying  in  the  mire. 
A  big  black  Peeler  pick'd  me  up — 
I  cried  out,  *  Stop  the  robber ! — stop  !* 
He  dash'd  me  clinking  on  the  flags, 
And  ran  as  if  he'd  got  new  legs. 
At  once  a  crowd  began  to  gather  ; 
Some  said  I  was  the  devil's  '  letther,' 
That  some  attorney's  clerk  had  lost, 
Going  or  coming  from  the  post. 
And  there  I  lay  upon  the  ground, 
With  laughing  crowds,  all  talking  round  ; 
At  last  I  knew,  amidst  the  noise 
Of  many  tongues,  Bryan  Sheehy's  voice  ; 
*.Och,  Bryan  !'  says  I,  'I'll  be  your  debtor, 
If  you  release  me  from  this  letter ; 
Don't  be  afraid,  I'm  not  a  ghost, 
But  your  friend  Jim  that  came  by  post, 
From  Australia,  all  the  way, 
Telegraphed  across  the  sea  !' 
Bryan  took  me  up — the  seal  he  broke — 
I  gave  a  mad  shout — and  awoke ! 

Now  was  not  that  a  curious  dream  ?" 
"By  Jove  !"  says  Joe,  "  I  dreamt  the  same 

And  thought  a  fish,  like  Keeper-hill, 
Rose  from  the  bottom  of  the  lake, 

17 


250  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  gobbled  up  my  rod  and  wheel, 

As  if  it  were  a  fat  beefsteak  ! 
I  heard  his  mighty. jaw- teeth  crashing, 

Like  millstones  grinding  Indian  corn  ; 
And  saw  his  moonlike  eyes  red  flashing, 

Like  lightning  on  a  harvest  morn  ! 
But  soon  those  awful-glaring  eyes 
Turn'd  into  large  wheels,  carriage-size  ; 
And  the  huge  gills  of  silvery  hue, 
Into  a  pair  of  horses  grew ; 
His  back-fins  changed  to  milk-white  manes, 
His  side-fins  turn'd  to  glittering  reins ; 
And  his  bright,  pearl  scale-clad  body    * 

Changed  sudden  to  as  grand  a  carriage 
As  ever  held  a  lord  and  lady, 

On  the  gay  morning  of  their  marriage  ! 
And  in  that  gorgeous  car  sat  one, 

With  breast  and  neck,  and  arms  the  whitest, 
And  ringlets  of  the  loveliest  brown, 

And  sweetest  mouth,  and  eyes  the  brightest, 
That  e'er  bewitch 'd  the  heart  of  man — 

Nature,  you'd  think,  took  years  to  ponder 
On  some  super-excellent  plan, 

To  mould  and  paint  this  lovely  wonder ! 
I  heard  her  angel- voice  ring  clear — 

Thus  sweetly  spoke  the  beauteous  vision, 
'  Young  man,  come  sit  beside  me  here  ! 

For  thine  shall  be  a  splendid  mission !' 
I  blush'd  to  think  that  one  so  mean 

As  I,  in  my  old  working-dress, 
Should  in  a  carriage  thus  be  seen 

Beside  such  radiant  loveliness  ; 
'No,  please  your  majesty  !'  I  cried — 

For  sure  you  are  the  queen  of  beauty ! 
My  station  can't  be  at  your  side, 

Tho'  at  your  feet  I'd  kneel  in  duty  I 
I  am  an  humble  son  of  trade  !' — 
•  Hush,  hush !'  she  mutter'd,  "list,  and  hear  me 
My  bridal  feast's  already  made, 

And  thou  art  destined  to  be  near  me  ! 
Ay,  destined  to  receive  my  hand, 

And  rule  the  realm  of  this  bright  water, 
Where  thou  shalt  reign,  like  monarch  grand, 

The  spouse  of  Garadh  Ear^la's  daughter  !' 
At  this  my  spirit  grew  elated, 

To  hear  a  queen  proposing  marriage  ; 
No  longer  then  I  hesitated, 

But  leap'd  into  the  splendid  carriage — 
Yet  where  the  devil  did  I  leap 

But  right  into  the  gloomy  water ; 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  ^ 

And  sank  head  foremost  in  the  deep, 

And  saw  no  more  of  Garadh's  daughter  ! 
Down  went  I,  like  a  lump  of  lead, 
'Till  forty  feet  beneath  the  flood, 
I  stood,  legs  upwards,  for  my  head 

Was  buried  in  a  bank  of  mud  ; 
I  kick'd  and  struggled  to  get  free, 

Yet  deep  and  deeper  down  I  sunk, 
If  any  one's  here,  thought  I,  to  see 

Me  in  this  state,  he'll  think  I'm  drunk! 
But  soon  my  Christian  senses  fled — 

I  grew  elastic  as  spring-steel, 
For  there  I  was, — gills,  tail,  and  head — 

Changed  to  a  yellow,  twining  eel ! 
Still  I  could  think,  and  understand, 

How  I  had  been  a  man  before ; 
Says  I,  '  I  daren't  swim  to  land, 

For  I'd  be  flay'd  if  caught  on  shore !' 
So  as  an  eel  I  was  content, 

And  in  the  mud  I  made  my  bed ; 
At  night,  with  other  eels  I  went, 

And  on  small  shells  and  insects  fed  ! 
But,  one  fine  morning,  while  I  loll'd, 

Upon  a  sandy  bottom  brown, 
A  tempting  bait  before  me  roll'd, 

Between  the  long  weeds,  floating  down  ! 
Soon  as  the  gilded  thing  I  saw, 

I  snatch'd  and  caught  it  in  my  mouth ; 
The  hook  stuck  firmly  in  my  jaw, 

And  wild  with  pain  I  danced  about ; 
With  all  his  might  the  angler  haul'd 

Me  up,  thro'  weeds  and  water,  twining  ; 
And  fiercely  for  the  gaff  he  call'd, 

And  then  I  saw  its  sharp  point  shining 
Above  my  back — one  minute  more, 

When  through  my  ribs  I  felt  it  tearing, 
And  leaping,  I  was  dragg'd  on  shore, 

While  fellows  gather'd  round  me,  swearing ! 
Each,  with  a  wattle  in  his  hand, 

And  mischief  in  his  wild  eyes  flashing, 
Flailed  me  about  thro'  sedge  and  sand, 
Like  spalpeens  in  a  barn  threshing  ! 
My  back  was  broke,  my  ribs  were  sore, 

And  still  the  devils  continued  beating  $ 
Says  one,  '  The  thief  will  swim  no  more ; 

Now  bring  him  home — he's  fit  for  eating  V 
*  You  lie,'  says  I,  '  I  am  not  dead,' — 

When,  lo  !  you  kick'd  me  from  the  bed ; 
But  dreams  and  visions  ever  vary, 
And  always  turn  out  contrary ; 


252  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Yet  I  can  judge  by  each  wild  dream, 
We'll  have  a  prosperous  day's  game  1" 

Now  for  Lough  Gur's  blue  flood  they  steer'd, 

For  their  day  s  humour,  well  prepared  ; 

They  carried  fishing-rods,  as  strong 

As  a  brig's  topmast,  and  as  long. 

They  bore  a  gaff  whose  strength  of  form 

Might  hold  a  galley  in  a  storm  ; 

'Twas  like  the  anchor  of  the  Ark, 

Or  some  great  Cyclop's  handy-work, 

Design'd  for  gaffing  whale  and  shark. 

To  kill  the  fish,  Joe  brought  a  wattle, 

And  Jim  secured  a  tight  cork'd  bottle 

Of  Stein's  pure  malt,  whose  spirit  mellow 

Would  make  a  Stoic  a  loving  fellow ; 

And  I  assure  you,  for  example, 

If  you  go  angling  with  a  "  sample" 

You'll  catch,  with  all  your  heart's  best  wishes, 

A  multitude  of  blessed  fishes. 

When  at  the  Lake  they  had  arrived, 

To  get  a  boat  they  soon  contrived  ; 

A  well-built  waterproof  concern, 

Close  caulk'd  and  tarr'd  from  stem  to  stern. 

With  painted  paddle,  firm  in  hand, 

They  drove  her  from  the  sedgy  strand ; 

And  in  the  deep,  dark  waters  flung 

Their  pike-baits  twirling  slow  along, 

They  troll'd  the  wide  Lake,  round  and  round, 

But,  small  or  large,  no  fish  they  found ; 

So  they  began  to  calculate, 

After  the  day's  expiring  heat, 

The  finny  tribe,  like  human  sinners, 

Might  feel  a  whet  to  eat  their  dinners. 

And,  with  this  truthful  hope  inspired, 

They  waited  'till  the  sun  retired — 

Spread  their  repast,  and  exercised  it. 

And  with  the  drop  of  malt  baptised  it. 

The  sun  went  down,  with  burning  blushes; 
The  song-birds  sought  the  sheltering  bushes ; 
The  corncreak  commenced  his  croon, 
And  up  the  blue  east  stole  the  moon. 
Large  pitch-black  clouds,  with  inky  fringe, 
Gave  the  lone  Lake  an  ebon  tinge ; 
The  billows  roll'd  with  moanings  drear, 
like  suffering  spirits  in  despair ; 
The  gale  blew  with  a  sullen  howl, 
Shrill  screamed  the  restless  waterfowl ; 
Black  grew  the  rayless  brow  of  night, 
As  if  the  moon  had  lost  her  light; 


tAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  263 

Midway  upon  the  Lake's  dark  breast, 

The  boat  a  moment  seem'd  to  rest, 

As  if  some  hidden  thing  of  force 

Had  stopp'd  her  in  her  drifting  course  ; 

The  fishers  leaned  upon  her  side, 

And  look'd  into  the  deep,  dark  tide, 

And  saw  an  arm'd  chieftain  stand, 

Beneath  the  waters,  stern  and  grand  ; 

His  breast  was  clad  with  silver  mail, 

His  limbs  were  sheathed  in  burnish'd  steel, 

And  a  gold  helmet,  on  his  head, 

Such  burning  rays  of  glory  shed, 

That  all  the  brightest  polish'd  gems 

Of  Europe's  kingly  diadems 

Seem'd  in  a  blazing  halo  roll'd 

Around  the  ornamented  gold. 

Awhile  the  craftsmen  speechless  gazed, 

With  wonder,  in  the  sun-bright  tide, 
That  like  a  mine  of  jewels  blaz  d, 

In  rings  of  light,  on  every  side, 
As  if  the  brightest  orbs  that  hung 

In  the  dim,  blue  crystalline  sphere, 
Were  melted  in  one  mass,  and  flung 

In  fiery  waves  of  splendour  there. 

"  Give  me  the  gaff  1"  in  accents  low, 

Said  honest  Jim,  addressing  Joe, 

"  111  hook  that  golden  hat — why,  zounds ! 

Look,  man,  'tis  worth  a  million  pounds! 

If  I  can  gaff  it  off  his  head, 

Then,  'pon  my  oath !  our  fortune's  made ; 

We'll  be  as  rich  as  Jews  or  Quakers — 

All  Rothschild  's  fortune's  in  that  hat — 
More  than  would  buy  a  million  acres, 

Landlords  and  all,  and  more  than  that ; 
Think,  man !  what  glorious  sprees  we'll  raise  ? 

At  balls  how  grand  we'll  turn  out  ? 
People  will  stare  in  mute  amaze, 

While,  like  two  lords  we'll  dash  about ! 
Our  carriage  thro'  the  streets  shall  rattle, 
With  servants  and  postillions  brave — 
Courage,  they  say,  is  half  the  battle, 

And  nothing  venture,  nothing  have  !" 

Now  leaning  o'er  the  boat's  low  side, 
He  thrusts  the  gaff  beneath  the  tide ; 
And  in  the  chieftain's  ear  he  stuck 
The  rusty-pointed  iron  crook. 
The  chieftain,  with  a  furious  roar 
Shook  the  whole  Lake  from  shore  to  shore; 


264  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  to  the  surface  of  the  stream, 

With  one  indignant  bound,  he  came ; 

The  frightened  Coopers  seized  each  oar, 

And  pull'd,  like  madmen,  for  the  shore , 

While  in  a  whirl  of  tide  and  wind, 

The  angry  Spectre  strode  behind! 

The  Lake  against  its  banks  rebell'd, 

And  o'er  its  sounding  borders  swell'd  ; 

The  lightning  blazed — the  thunder  roll'd, 

The  woods  grew  mad — the  tempest  howl'd  — 

The  clouds  around  the  sky  were  hurl'd, 

Like  smoke- wreaths  of  a  burning  world  ; 

Each  red  flash,  like  a  fiery  snake, 

Leap'd  on  the  storm's  back  round  the  Lake, 

Dancing  the  universal  fling 

Upon  the  tempest's  mighty  wing. 

The  rain-god  dash'd  his  cloud-gates  wide, 

And  downward  plunged  the  aerial  tide; 

Proclaiming,  with  its  awful  sound, 

How  thus  the  ancient  world  was  drown'd. 

Dazzled  with  lightning — drench'd  with  rain, 

They  tug  the  heavy  oars  in  vain  ; 

Amid  the  elemental  rout, 

From  wave  to  wave,  they're  dash'd  about ; 

Blinded  with  teeming  rain  and  spray, 

Each  pulls  his  oar  a  different  way  ; 

And  the  crazed  boat  is  whirl'd  along, 

Like  goal-ball  'midst  a  hurling  throng. 

Still  Garadh  Earla  fiercely  press'd 

Upon  them,  with  his  flaming  crest ; 

Near  and  more  near  his  fiery  plume 

Is  sparkling  thro'  the  stormy  gloom ; 

At  last,  with  one  gigantic  stride, 

He's  scowling  o'er  the  vessel's  side — 

Joe  groan'd — Jim  gave  a  frantic  yell, 

And  fainting  from  the  seats  they  fell — 

The  boat's  strong ; stern  the  Spectre  seized, 

And  crew  and,  all  in  air  upraised  ; 

And,  as  a  stone  hurl'd  from  a  sling, 

He  drove  them,  with  one  mighty  swing, 

From  the  Lake's  centre  to  the  strand, 

Deep,  rooting  in  the  sedge  and  sand. 

Awhile,  insensible  as  clay, 

Amid  the  broken  wreck  they  lay  ; 

At  last  they  'rose,  and  stared  about, 

"  By  Jove  !"  says  Joe,  "  our  dreams  are  out !" 

Now  if  this  story's  truth  you'd  know, 
Go  learn  the  tale  from  Jim  and  Joe  ! 
But,  if  you  seem  to  doubt  one  tittle, 
They'll  cleave  your  ear  off,  with  a  whittle. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  255 


PADDY  MAC  CARTHY  TO  HIS  BRIDGET 
MAC  SHEEHY. 

Air. — ' '  Paudheen  O'Bafferty, " 

Arrah,  Bridgid  Mac  Sheehy.  your  eyes  are  the  death  o'  me, 
And  your  laugh,  like  a  fairy  sthroke,  knocks  out  the  breath 


o  me 


The  devil  a  cobweb  of  slumber,  till  dawn'd  the  day, 

Has  cum  to  my  lids,  while  the  long  night  I  yawn'd  away  ! 

Och,  you  heart-killing  imp,  'twas  your  witchery  puzzled  me, 

Like  a  bird  by  a  night-wisp,  your  beauty  has  dazzled  me ! 

I'd  rather  be  forty  miles  running  away  wid  you, 

Than  live  to  be  parted,  ten  minutes,  one  day  wid  you  ! 

Ton  my  sowl,  I  was  dhraming  last  night  that  you  came  to  me 

Wid  your  own  purty  smile,  like  a  sweet  drink  of  cream  to  me, 

Says  you,  "Paddy  Carthy,  I'm  cuming  to  marry  you  !" 

"  Och,  my  jewel,"  says  I,  "  to  his  Riverince  111  carry  you  !" 

So  I  thought  my  poor  heart  gave'a  thump,  like  a  prize-fighter, 

As  off  to  the  chapel  I  jump'd,  like  a  lamplighter ; 

But  scarce  had  the  priest  time  to  see  how  his  robe  was  on, 

When — och,  blood-an'-turf  ! — I  awoke  'ere  the  job  was  done  - 

Now  troth,  'tsa  heartache,  betune  you  an'  I,  Biddy ! 

To  let  that  sly  rogue  of  a  dhrame  tell  a  lie,  Biddy ! 

If  your  sweet  mouth  just  says,  "my  dear  boy,  here's  my  hand 

to  you!" 
By  the  lord  of  Kilsmack  !  Paddy  Carthy  will  stand  to  you  ! 
In  the  meadow  I'll  mow,  in  the  haggard  111  work  for  you ; 
Say  the  word,  an'  111  walk  on  my  head  to  New  York  for  you 
My  heart  wid  the  heat  of  devotion  so  beats  for  you, 
'Tis  just  like  a  little  child  crying  for  sweets  to  you ! 

Did  you  hear  what  a  great  name  my  ancesthors  had  of  id  ? 
From  Blarney  to  Munsther  they  own'd  every  sod  of  id ; 
The  MacCarthy  Mores  they  wor  christen'd  by  raison,  sure, 
Of  their  fighting  and  feasting  bein'  always  in  saisin,  sure  I 
Arrah,  thim  wor  the  boys  that  kep  up  the  ould  cause  for  us, 
Ere  a  red  robbing  sthranger  cum  here  wid  mock  laws  for  us ! 
Rale  jewels  they  wor  for  love,  spendin'  and  sportin'  too, 
An'  sure  I'm  a  boy  of  their  clan  that's  now  courtin'  you ! 

There's  Judy  Moloney,  wid  ten  on  the  watch  for  her — 
Her  uncle  cum  to  me  to  make  up  match  a  for  her ; 
There's  Thady  Mulready,  by  Loch  Quinlan's  water,  clear, 
Faith,  he'd  gi'  me  six  cows  if  I'd  marry  his  daughter,  dear ! 
But  no,  by  the  powers  !  I  wud  rather  go  beg  wid  you, 
Hopping  from  village  to  town  on  wan  leg  wid  you, 
Than  be  walking  on  two,  wid  a  rich  heiress  stuck  to  me ; 
If  I'm  not  speaking  true  to  you,  darling,  bad  luck  to  me ! 


256  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

You're  the  queen  of  the  lilies  that  grew  up  so  tenderly, 
An'  your  leg  is  as  fair  as  white  wax,  moulded  slenderly 
The  berries  are  so  like  your  lips  that  the  pick  of  'em, 
I  pluck'd  from  the  bush  till  I  ate  myself  sick  of  'em  ! 
Where  the  hawtree  its  flowers  to  the  sunbeams  is  handing  up 
I  saw,  like  your  white  neck,  a  blossom-branch  standing  up, 
I  climb' d  to  get  at  it — you'd  pity  the  trim  o'  me — 
For,  bad  luck  to  the  thorns,  they  carved  every  limb  o'  me  ! 

I'll  purchase  the  best  wedding  ring  in  the  town  for  you  I 
Or,  by  thunder,  to  make  one,  I'd  pull  the  moon  down  for  you 
If  I  could  lay  my  hand  on  the  sun  for  a  crown  for  you, 
Sure  I'd  be  the  boy  wud  win  light  and  renown  for  you  ! 
Now,  Biddy,  my  jewel !  what  have  you  to  say  to  me  ? 
Just  give  up  your  heart  without  f arthur  delay  to  me ; 
And  I  will  bless  this  as  a  glorious  fine  day  to  me — 
If  a  queen  got  such  courting,  by  Jove,  she'd  give  way  to  me ! 


THE  ROSE  OF  ARDCREGAN. 

A  Maiden-blossom  mildly  blooms 

Where  bright  Ardcregan's  mansion  towers ; 
And  wild  bees  fill  their  honeycombs 

With  golden  nectar  from  the  flowers. .  • 
I've  sung  of  Thomond's  virgin  grace, 

And  blue-eyed  Limerick's  stately  girls, 
But  yet  the  Kose  of  beauty's  race 

Is  Lizzy  of  the  radiant  curls. 

I  saw  her  in  Ardcregan's  hall, 

With  beamy  ringlets  round  her  spread  ; 
As  if  some  loving  sprite  let  fall 

A  shower  of  sunbeams  on  her  head ; 
Above  her  bosom's  gentle  swell 

Her  young  face  glow'd  with  heaven's  bright  soul ; 
Like  morning  o'er  the  lily's  bell, 

When  Nature's  pearl  shines  in  its  bowl. 

How  brightly  glows  the  April  dawn 

Upon  the  heath -flowers  of  Knoc  More  ? 
And  whitely  blows  the  Cean-na-bhan 

On  wild  Cuilmain's  enchanted  shore ; 
The  dawn  so  bright— the  flower  so  white, 

Like  her  fair  cheek  and  bosom  glow — 
"Her  neck's  like  Obhin's  sacred  height 

When  clad  with  stainless  sunny  snow. 

'Tis  not  her  witching  charms  of  youth 
That  touch'd  my  soul  with  silent  joy ; 

But  'tis  her  heart's  exalted  truth 
That  shows-  the  angel  in  her  eye — 


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LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  269 

Crouching  and  fawning,  and  praying  for  grace, 
And  kissing  the  scourge  of  his  country  and  race ! 

But  away  to  the  field,  Baus  gaun  Soggort,  away ! 

There  are  conquests  and  honour  before  us  to-day ; 

I'll  cool  my  red  vengeance,  and  crown  my  desire, 

With  a  place  on  the  sod  and  a  banquet  of  fire ! 


MO  BOCHAILLIN  DOUN. 

Air. — "My  Mother-in-law." 
Shrovetide  is  coming,  the  dear  happy  times 
Of  match-making,  marriages,  pancakes,  and  rhymes ; 
I'll  put  on  my  bonnet  and  new  satin  gown, 
For  I'm  going  to  be  wed  to  mo  Bochaillin  Down  !* 

Oh !  Cuishla  astoir,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun  ! 

With  your  fair  face  that  never  was  dark  with  a  frown  ; 

And  your  locks  like  the  mist  in  the  gold  of  the  sun, 

And  your  lips  like  the  wild  rose,  mo  Bochaillin" Doun  ! 

From  Dublin  he  brought  me  a  bright  golden  ring, 
And  his  face  looked  as  proud  as  the  face  of  a  king  ; 
And  he  sang  me  a  song,  like  the  harp's  mellow  tone, 
When  I  whispered,   "  I  love  you  ! "  mo  Bochaillin  Doun  ! 
Oh !  Cuishla  astoir,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun !  &c. 

He  loves,  with  a  deep  love,  the  land  of  his  birth, 
Her  name  and  her  rights  are  his  music  on  earth  ; 
And  'tis  you  have  the  spirit,. the  blood,  and  the  bone, 
To  fight  for  your  country,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun  ! 
Oh !*  pmshla  astoir,  mo  Bochaillin  Down !  &c. 

He  is  "£he  best  hurler  and  dancer  in  Clare, 
He  cpurts  at  the  wake,  and  he  fights  at  the  fair  ; 
And  a  blow  of  his  wattle  would  knock  a  bull  down, 
For  strong  is  the  hand  of  mo  Bochaillin  Doun! 
Oh!  Cuishl$ astoir,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun!  &c. 

Last  Sunday  he  &ck'd  up  a  row  with  Tom  Neill, 
About  Daniel' O?€onhell,  the  Queen,  and  Repeal ; 
So  he  clench'ditfgrbrave  fist  and  put  Tom  on  his  crown, 
"There's  physical  force!"  says  mo  Bochaillin  Doun! 
Oh!  Cuishla  astoir,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun !  &c.  ! 

At  the  races  of  Limerick  he  rode  the  black  horse,  * 
And,  like  lightning,  he  clear'd  all  the  leaps  in  the  course  ; 
And  the  wild  Irish  Marquis  from  Water  ford  town, 
Took  a  treat  and  shook  hands  with  mo  Bochaillin  Doun  ! 
Oh!  Cuishla  astoir,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun,  &c. 

My  poor  fearful  mother  advises  her  child, 
To  have  nothing  to  do  with  a  lover  so  wild  ; 


4%& 


*  Literally,  pulse  of  my  love,  my  little,  brown  boy. 


280  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND. 

But  I'll  coax  him,  and  soon  cool  his  hot  spirit  down, 
And  I'll  tame  the  wild  freaks  of  mo  Bochaillin  Doun  f 

Oh !  Cuishla  astoir,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun  ! 

With  your  fair  face  that  never  was  dark  with  a  frown ; 

And  your  locks  like  the  mist  in  the  gold  of  the  sun, 

And  your  lips  like  the  wild  rose,  mo  Bochaillin  Doun  I 


CAPTAIN  BRENNAN;    OR,   THE  OUTLAW  OF  THE 
HILL/ 

Air. — "There's  Whiskey  in  the  Jar" 

Tho'  this  cold  gloomy  cell  is  my  dwelling  of  sorrow, 
'Till  the  gallows  and  rope  liberate  me  to-morrow  ; 
I  fear  not  death's  coming — I  sigh  not  with  sadness, 
But,  Molly,  your  treachery  drives  me  to  madness ! 

Oh !  false-hearted  Molly  ! 

Your  treason  and  folly 
Have  slain  the  undaunted,  young  Outlaw  of  the  Hill ! 

I  loved  Erin's  land  as  a  child  loves  its  mother, 

But  now  I  must  die  by  the  laws  of  another  ; 

Yet  on  Kilworth's  proud  hill  were  those  law-makers  by  me, 

Oh !  I'd  give  them  a  trial  before  they  would  try  me ! 
And  'tis  there  I'd  do  my  will, 
And  young  Brennan  would  be  still, 

The  dauntless  and^daring,  young  Outlaw  of  the  Hill ! 

But  the  jail  holds  me  fast,  and  the  chains  hold  me  faster, 
And  the  black,  detested  hangman  Vill  soon  be  my  master ; 
Farewell,  my  dear  friends,  if  yet  I  may  have  any, 
But  my  friends  are  too  few  and  my  enemies  too  many ! 
And  forlorn  here  I  pine, 
'Till  the  fatal  rope  shall  twine, 
Round  the  neck  of  the  dauntless,  young  Outlaw  of  the  Hill ! 

Yet  if  Fate  allow'd  a  chance — oh !  one  little  chance  only — 
To  free  me  once  more  on  the  hills  wild  and  lonely ; 
Whether  on  the  Galtees'  side  or  the  plains  of  Kilnnnane, 
Oh!  then  they'd  catch  the  winds  ere  they  catch  Captain 
Brennan ! 

And  no  woman  e'er  would  bring 

The  law-hounds  of  a  king, 
To  chase  the  bold,  undaunted,  young  Outlaw  of  the  Hill! 

*  When  Brennan  lay  in  Clonmel  jail  pending  his  execution,  he  w*e  visited 
by  many  great  people  out  of  curiosity.  Among  the  rest  came  a  bankrupt 
Banker.  "Oh,  Brennan,"  said  he,  "I'm  pr6ud  to  see, you  here  I"  "You 
ought  not,"  replied  Brennan,  "  tor  when  the  world  refused  your;  l$t0V 1 
took  them 1"  '' 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  261 

I  trampled  the  laws  that  my  country  infected, 

I  plundered  the  rich,  but  the  poor  I  respected ; 

I  reign'd,  like  a  king,  spurning  foeman  and  malice, 

And  the  hill  was  my  throne  and  the  greenwood  my  palace ! 

And  my  law  was  my  word, 

And  my  fortune  my  sword, 
And  freedom  was  my  kingdom  in  the  dark  shades  of  the  Hill ! 

Ye  friendly  glens  and  mountains  whose  fond  bosoms  woo'd  me, 
To  shelter  and  rest  when  the  bloodhounds  pursued  me ; 
Oh !  never  again  in  your  wild  shades  I'll  wander, 
With  my  blunderbuss  primed  and  my  purse  filled  with  plunder! 

Farewell !  dear  shades,  farewell ! 

In  other  days  you'll  tell 
Wild  tales  of  the  daring  young  Outlaw  of  the  Hill ! 

The  merchant  and  the  lord  I  deprived  of  their  treasure, 

And  sat  on  the  dark  heath  to  count  it,  at  leisure  ; 

But  my  hand  to  the  weak,  in  pity  was  extended, 

And  the  poor  man,  in  his  need,  I  have  always  befriended  ! 

And  never  before  God, 

Has  a  drop  of  human  blood 
Stain'd  the  hand  of  the  daring,  young  Outlaw  of  the  Hill ! 

Oh !  many  a  day  have  the  red  soldiers  chased  me, 
And  in  vain  to  the  depths  of  the  mountain  glens  traced  me  ; 
Their  swiftest  I  outstripp'd  on  the  morass  and  common, 
'Till  at  last  I  was  betrayed  by  a  false-hearted  woman  ! 

But  shame  shall  mark  her  head, 

When  silent,  with  the  dead, 
Lies  the  brave  and  undaunted,  young  Outlaw  of  the  Hill  I 


THE  IRISH  MAIDEN  TO  HER  LOVER. 

Air. — "Maire  Ban  astoir" 

Old  Erin's  sons  are  gay, 

In  the  camp  or  banquet-hall ; 
But  my  darling  Seaan  Ban  Oge, 

Is  the  gayest  of  them  all ! 
His  manly  heart  beats  high 

With  Freedom's  holy  glow ; 
And  the  village  maidens  sigh 

For  my  Seaan  Ban  Oge ! 

The  sunny  curls  play 
r  O'er  his  forehead's  snowy  mould  > 
Ijlis  smile  is  ever  gay, 
And  his  bosom  warm  and  bold  \ 

*  Faix  young  John ;  pronounce    Shawn  Bawn  O,  in  singing. 


262  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

He  loves  his  native  land, 
And  he  hates  the  foreign  foe — 

Red  Hugh's  high  heart  and  hand,* 
Has  my  Seaan  Ban  Oge ! 

The  berry  on  the  brier, 

And  the  star  that  guides  the  ship  ; 
Speak  his  eye  of  melting  fire, 

And  his  ruddy,  glowing  lip  ; 
The  pearl,  all  refined, 

From  the  ocean-sands  below, 
Tells  the  beauty  of  your  mind, 

My  brave  Seaan  Ban  Oge  ! 

I  love  him,  as  the  bee 

Loves  the  dewy  sweets  of  May —  * 
As  the  song-bird  loves  the  tree 

In  a  sultry  summer's  day — 
As  the  floweret  loves  the  dew, 

When  the  twilight  splendours  glow, 
So  my  throbbing  heart  loves  you, 

My  brave  Seaan  Ban  Oge ! 

Had  I  the  wealth  of  old 
That  to  Brian's  palace  flow'd  ; 

Or  all  the  gems  and  gold 

That  Prince  Morogh's  hand  bestow'd  ;f 

Or  if  Thomond's  fields  were  mine, 
That  with  milky  treasures  flow ; 

With  my  heart,  they'd  all  be  thine, 
;-  My  brave  Seann  Ban  Oge ! 

**  -:>>»      He'is  prouder  than  a  king, 

And  he's  generous  as  the  rain 
That  the  kindly  heaven  of  Spring 

Sheds  in  sun-tears  on  the  plain  ; 
Yet  he's  fiery,  free,  and  wild, 

As  the  chainless  desert-roe  ; 
For  Nature's  Irish  child 

Is  my  Seaan  Ban  Oge ! 


EILEEN  OGE  MACREE.J 

Air. — "  Irish  Molly." 

'  May  wore  her  crown  of  emerald,  begemm'dwith  flowers  and  dew 

And  heaven  look'd  upon  the  scene,  with  smiles  of  sunny  blue 

When  by  the  Shannon's  kingly  tide,  I  wandered  forth  to  see 

The  honey  of  my  bosom's  love,  sweet  Eileen  Oge  Machree  I 

*  Red  Hugh  O'Donnell.  t  Morogh,  son  of  King  Brian; 

%  Young  Ellen  of  my  heart. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  263 

How  stately,  how  sweetly,  how  beautiful  she  looks  ? 

Her  cheeks  are  like  bright  lusmore-bells  beside  the  sunny 

brooks ! 
And  tho'  no  lordly  court,  nor  hall  nor  golden  dower  has  she, 
Yet  rank  and  power  would  bow  before  sweet  Eileen  Oge 

Machree  I 

Rank  and  wealth,  and  pride,  and  place,  in  peasant  homes  are 

not, 
But  if  you'd  see  a  beauteous  face,  go  to  the  peasant's  cot — 
If  you'd  find  virtue's  virgin  rose  on  beauty's  vestal  tree, 
Go  to  the  humble  Irish  home  of  Eileen  Oge  Machree ! 
How  stately,  how  sweetly,  &c,  &c. 

I'd  climb  Knocfeirna's  fairy  peak,  where  Donn   is   on   his 

throne, 
I'd  swim  the  Shannon's  dashing  tide,  at  midnight  dark  and 

lone  ; 
O'er  wild  Camailte's  wintry  snow  barefooted  I  would  flee 
To  gaze  upon  thy  angel-brow,  sweet  Eileen  Oge  Machree  ! 
How  stately,  how  sweetly,  &c.  &c. 

Her  face  is  beauty's  palace,  and  her  eyes  have  fairy  power, 
She's  holy  as  a  seraph,  and  she's  modest  as  a  flower  ; 
So  sweet  in  look,  so  pure  in  heart,  so  rich  in  loveliness, 
Like  one  of  heaven's  bright  daughters  in  an  humble  earthly 
dress ! 
How  stately,  how  sweetly,  &c.  &c. 

As  towards  the  grand  and  glorious  sun  the  eagle  lifts  his  wing, 
As  rosy  buds  fly  open  at  the  vernal  touch  of  Spring ; 
So  quick  my  burning  fancy  wings  its  eager  flight  to  thee, 
So    opes    my  heart   before  thy    charms,   sweet  Eileen  Oge 
Machree  ! 
How  stately,  how  sweetly,  &c.  &c. 

To  me  thou  art  the  gale  that  brings  the  rain  to  hill  and  bower, 
When  Nature's    mouth    is    thirsting  for  the  dewy  evening 

shower — 
I    have   two    wishes  in  my  heart— oh!  would  kind  heaven 

decree, 
Poor  Erin  free,  and  you  my  own,  sweet  Eileen  Oge  Machree  ! 
How  stately,  how  sweetly,  how  beautiful  she  looks  ? 
Her  cheeks  are  like  bright  lusmorcbells  beside  the  sunny 

brooks ; 
And  tho'  no  lordly  court,  nor  hall,  nor  golden  dower  has  she, 
Yet  rank  and  power  would  bow  before  sweet  Eileen  Oge 
Machree  !  >     %C  i 


264  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

THE  BEAUTIES  OF  PLASSY.* 
On  the  bright  lawns  of  Plassy  green  April  is  glowing, 
By  her  grand  woods  the  Shannon  is  gloriously  flowing, 
And  the  young-budding  leaves  on  the  mossy  boughs  ring, 
With  the  golden-toned  air-notes  of  sunny-eyed  Spring  : 
The  spirit  of  love  from  the  fountains  of  heaven, 
Light,  beauty,  and  soul,  to  the  landscape  has  given ; 
And  the  flowerets  look  up  to  the  warm-smiling  skies, 
With  bright  tears  of  sweet,  silent  thanks  in  their  eyes. 
The  sun-chorded  breast  of  the  river  is  spangled 
With  wavelets,  like  masses  of  silver-chains  tangled  ; 
And  the  old  trees,  like  warriors  when  battle  is  ended, 
Rejoice  in  their  blue-aerial  banquet-hall  splendid: 
The  floods  sing  the  songs  which  their  great  Maker  taught 

them, 
When  first  into  motion  and  music  He  brought  them  ; 
And  each  vernal  bud  opens  its  balm-hearted  chalice, 
To  catch  the  air-pearls  that  drop  from  his  Palace ! 

A  day-flood  of  glory  the  mountains  is  shrouding — 

A  star-host  of  flowers  the  gay  meadows  is  crowding; 

And  the  fresh  healthy  breeze  from  the  uplands  comes  winging, 

A  Spring-hymn  of  love  to  the  laughing  fields  singing. 

How  brilliant's  the  scene — how  resplendent  above  it, 

The  clear  heaven  smiles,  as  if  looking  to  love  it  ? 

While  Nature,  in  rich,  virgin  emerald  clad, 

With  a  soul-gush  of  melody  praises  her  God ! 

The  gay  bees  are  seeking  their  banquet  of  honey, 

Where  the  flowers  on  the  moss-banks  smile  silent  and  sunny ; 

And  the  fisher  is  out  on  the  rocks  of  the  shallow, 

Alluring  the  trout  from  its  sandy  beds  yellow. 

The  flood  and  the  mill-wheel  are  tumbling  together, 

Like  two  mighty  giants  at  play  with  each  other ; 

And  the  proud  domes  of  wealth  thro'  the  foliage-screens  peep, 

With  their  lawns  half  in  sunshine  and  shadow  asleep. 

The  corn-lands  are  barr'd  with  long,  bright-verdant  ridges, 

And  the  green- vested  blossom-bells  glow  in  the  hedges ; 

The  lark  has  flown  up  to  yon  white  cloud-isles  riven, 

tike  a  soul  chanting  joy  on  its  bright  way  to  heaven. 

The  Falls  in  a  war- dance  of  glory  are  springing, 

O'er  the  rocks,  in  white  splendour,  their  broken  might  flinging } 

And  the  woods,  round  the  shores,  wear  one  sun-robe  of  beauty, 

From  the  Isles  to  the  brown  tide  of  wild  Annacotty. 

Lo !  gray  Castle-Troy,  by  war,  tide  and  time  batter'd,f 

Stands,  like  an  old  chief  with  his  armour  all  shatter' d, 

*  The  country  seat  of  the  late  Richard  Bussell,  Esq.,  one  of  the  most 
enterprising  merchants  that  Limerick  ever  saw. 

+  This  once  strong  fortress,  with  its  surrounding  lands,  belonged  to  the 
tribe  of  the  MacKeoghs.  It  was  severely  battered  by  Cromwell's  cannon, 
but  after  the  last  siege  of  Limerick,  it  was  entirely  dismantled  and  blown 
top*  together  with  other  castles  which  defended  the  passes  to  the  city. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  265 

As  if  musing,  in  gloomy  and  gaunt  desolation, 

On  the  red,  feudal  days  when  Green  Eire  was  a  Nation. 

There  the  warlike  MacKeoghs,   in  their  power,    ruled  and 

revell'd, 
And  often  in  fight  were  their  sounding  spears  levell'd 
'Till  Cromwell  the  fiend,  with  his  tower- cleaving  cannon, 
Plough'd  their  strong  Castle-walls  on  the  brink  of  the  Shannon. 

There  once  a  young  maiden,  whose  beauty  was  peerless, 
Was  woo'd  by  a  chieftain,  rock-hearted  and  fearless  ; 
But  she  shrank  from  his  eyes  that,  impassion'd,  were  gazing 
On  her  brow,  like  a  flower,  when  the  noon-sun  is  blazing. 
Then  the  chief  went  away,  while  his  jealous  soul  burn'd, 
And  at  night,  with  his  clan,  to  the  Castle  return'd  ; 
In  her  high  chamber- window,  MacKeogh's  angel  daughter 
Sat,  marking  the  star-rays  that  jewelFd  the  water. 

The  sentinels  dozed  on  the  airy-brow'd  watch-tower, 
And  the  midnight  gale  swept  thro'  the  echoing  beech-bower ; 
And  the  robber's  approach  to  the  hall  of  the  Castle, 
Was  hid  by  the  woods  'mid  their  hoarse,  leafy  rustle. 
Up  the  spiral  stone-stairs  rush'd  the  clan,  with  swords  ready, 
And  their  chief,  in  her  chamber,  has  seized  the  young  lady  ; 
Away,  in  his  steel-sheathed  arms,  he  brought  her, 
But  MacKeogh,    springing  up,    heard    the    screams,  of    his 
daughter 

"To  the  rescue!"  that  cry  thro'  the  fortress  is  ringing, 

And  around  him,  like  wolf-hounds,  his  clansmen  are  springing  ; 

On  the  lawn  are  the  midnight  marauders  confronted, 

Like  foxes  or  deer  from  their  hill-coverts  hunted. 

With  a  yell,  'mid  the  wTood's  two-fold  darkness,  they  battled, 

And  the  swords'  iron  echoes  promiscuously  rattled — 

MacKeogh  has  defeated  the  brigands,  with  slaughter, 

But  a  spear  has  been  thrust  thro'  the  breast  of  his  daughter. 

There's  a  caoine  for  the  dead,  and  sad  eyes,  wild  and  tearful, 
Gaze  on  that  fair  breast,  with  its  wound  gaping  fearful ; 
While  grim  on  the  sward,  where  the  knot-grass  is  woven, 
Lies  the  dark  robber-chief,  with  his  high  forehead  cloven. 
And  oft  were  their  pale  spirits  seen,  when  the  grey  light 
Of  eve,  fringed  the  green,  golden  skirts  of  the  day-light ; 
And  the  night-faring  fishermen  long  shall  remember, 
The  death-shrieks  they  heard  in  that  old  ruin'd  chamber. 

Sweet  Plassy  of  bright  streams  !  how  lovely,  when  even 
Plants  its  star- jewels  on  the  blue  bosom  of  heaven, 
To  stand  'mid  thy  shadowy  glories,  beholding 
The  mist-robe  of  night  thy  wild  grandeur  enfolding  ? 
While  the  Falls'  deep-toned  echoes  are  solemnly  crooning, 
Like  a  concert  of  ghost-harps  in  harmony  tuning  ; 
And  the  groves,  with  their  dew-circled  diadems  glistening, 
In  silent  delight,  to  the  anthem  seem  listening  ! 
18 


266  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Sweet  Plassy  !  my  fond  muse  were  proud  of  her  duty, 
Could  she  weave  in  her  wild  song  one  beam  of  thy  beauty  ! 
But  God  did  so  brightly  and  richly  array  thee, 
'Tis  an  angel  alone  that  could  praise  or  portray  thee  ! 
Thou  seem'st  as  if,  on  deep  Shannon's  green  border, 
Nature's  first  glowing  signet  of  beauty  and  order, 
Was  set  upon  thee,  when  from  chaos  upborne, 
Earth  roll'd  in  the  beams  of  the  first  golden  morn ! 


THE  FAIRY  HURLING  MATCH. 

A  LEGEND   OF  MUNGRET.* 

"  Yes,  I  know  he's  still  living !  he's  haunting  my  dreams !" 

Said  young  Brideen  Dhuv  to  the  hag  of  the  Dell ; 
"  On  the  night  of  his  wake  the  old  Fort  seem'd  in  flames, 

And  the  candles  were  quench' d,  by  whom  no  one  could  tell ! 
1 '  Sure  there  was  not  a  tree  in  the  woods  of  Tirvoe, 

So  sturdy  and  straight  as  my  comely  Fineen  ? 
But  when  he  came  sick  from  the  meadow,  I  knew 

By  his  looks,  he  was  struck  by  the  dark  Fairy  Queen  ! 
"  The  lightning  was  dead  in  the  heaven  of  his  eye, 

And  his  brow  wore  the  gloom  of  the  shadows  that  roll, 
At  evening,  between  a  churchyard  and  the  sky, 

And  his  face  had  no  beam  from  the  sun  of  his  soul ! 
"  And  as  I  sat  weeping  alone  on  the  style 

That's  between  the  old  church  and  the  little  boreen, 
While  his  funeral  passed  into  the  grey,  ruin'd  aisle, 

I  was  call'd — 'twas  his  voice — he  was  near  me  unseen ! 
"  And,  oh !  if  you  can,  by  your  knowledge  or  art, 

Tell  me  where  my  lost  darling  may  happen  to  be, 
'Twill  give  comfort  and  peace  to  my  poor,  weeping  heart, 

And  here  is  a  gift  of  bright  silver  for  thee  !" 

The  Fairy -hag  listen'd  to  Brideen's  sad  tale — 
Awhile  she  stood  pausing,  and  made  no  reply, 

But  moved  to  the  door,  and  look'd  round  on  the  vale, 
Then  turn'd  on  the  maiden  her  dark-flashing  eye. 

M This  eve  is  the  vigil  !"  she  said,  "of  Saint  John ! 

And  if  you  have  courage,  I'll  tell  what  you'll  do  ; 
When  the  shadowy  star-cloak  of  midnight  is  on, 

Go.  into  yon  field  near  the  woods  of  Tirvoe ! 
"There  wait  by  the  hedge,  with  two  briar-boughs  cross'd 

O'er  your  head,  and,  believe  me,  you  shall  not  wait  long, 
When  you'll  see  the  dear  youth  whom  you  mourn  as  lost, 

At  play  in  the  midst  of  a  numberless  throng ! 

*  "  Mungret  Abbey  was  built  under  the  patronage  of  St.  Patrick.    When 
Brian  Boru  was  making  bis  conciliatory  tour  through  tbe  kingdom,  after 
rec«iying  the  orown  of  Tara,  his  first  visit  was  paid  to  this  Abbey,  where  he 
ltid«'#baty  ounces  of  pure  gold  on  the  grand  high  altar."— Fqwr  Meters'  , 
Annan. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


267 


"  For  the  task  I'll  embolden  your  nerve,  with  a  charm, 
And  when  Fineen  shall  move  near  the  spot  where  you'll 
stand ; 

At  once — mind  my  words — grasp  him  well,  by  the  arm, 
And  hold  this  skein  dhu*  at  his  breast,  in  your  hand  ! 

"  Mark  well  my  instructions,  or  dearly  you'll  rue, 

Aye,  even  the  single  omission  of  one — 
Fear  not — to  yourself  and  your  errand  be  true, 

Fail  not — and  your  victory  of  love  shall  be  won !"  t 

The  maid  from  her  cheek  brush'd  the  tear-dews  away, 

And  silently  stole  to  her  wood-shaded  home, 
And  pray'd,  'till  the  dim,  purple  pall  of  the  day 

Lay  over  its  lord  in  the  sea's  golden  tomb. 

Night  lighted  her  star-diamond-fires  in  the  blue 

Empyrean  fields  where  the  Spirit  of  God 
Its  burning  thoughts  into  flame -worlds  threw, 

'Till  their  blaze  in  a  limitless  universe  glow'd. 

Midnight  came,  and  the  life-pulse  of  Nature  seem'd  hush'd, 
And  each  lone  hill  look'd  black  as  a  slumbering  raven, 

As  if  their  great  souls  to  the  planet-halls  rush'd, 
To  listen  awhile  to  the  music  of  heaven. 

Now  Brideen,  all  trembling,  began  to  repair 
To  the  airy  field  named  by  the  hag  of  the  dell, 

Who  knew  what  the  heart  of  the  maiden  could  dare 
For  the  sake  of  the  youth  she  loved  wisely  and  well. 

She  traversed  the  dark  plain,  and  stayed  at  the  hedge 
Where  the  boughs  of  the  brier  hung  cross'd  o'er  her  head  ;  • 

While  the  moon,  in  the  east,  show'd  her  thin  crescent-edge, 
Like  a  pearl,  stealing  up  from  her  gloomy  sea-bed. 

The  timid  maid  gazed,  while  her  heart  thrill' d  with  fears,    . 

Round  the  field  where  the  moon  thro'  the  shadows  look'd  in  ; 
As  a  pale,  dying  penitent  looks,  thro'  her  tears,  -■  : 

On  the  gloomy  record  of  a  dark  life  of  sin. 

*  A  black  haf ted  knife,  believed  to  possess  the  power  of  breaking  fairy' 
enchantments. 

t  The  last  of  those  fairy  sybils  who  pretended  acquaintance  with  the  mys- 
tical lore  of  the  spirit  world,  was  the  far-famed  Biddy  Early  of  Kiftjarron, 
County  Clare.  She  was  a  very  wise  woman,  she  buried  four  husbands  and  was 
buried  herself  a  few  years  ago.  The  people  held  an  emphatic  belief  in  her 
power,  and  numberless  are  the  stories  told  about  the  wonderful  cures  she 
performed.  She  was  not  a  mercenary  impostor,  for  she'd  take  nothing 
neither  money  nor  value,  from  any  person  whom  she  could  not  serve,  and  rf 
the  required  service  could  be  rendered  she'd  accept  nothing  but  the  merest 
trifle,  never  surpassing  a  shilling.  Her  patients.came  to  her,  even  from  the 
remotest  parts  of  the  country,  and  none  ever  regretted  a  visit  paid  to  " %oov 
honest  Biddy !"  as  she  was  affectionately  termed  by  all  who  knew.her.i-  I 
once  had  an  accidental  opportunity  of  an  interview  with  her.  She  predicted 
events  in  the  far  and  near  future  of  which  I  made  private  and  special  notes". 
I  was  entirely  sceptical  in  all  she  had  said,,  yet  in  course  of  time  I  was 
astonished  to  experience  the  complete  truth  of  her  prophetic  revelations. 


268  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

A  sudden  fog  roll'd  o'er  the  desolate  field, 
And  'rose  in  cloud-towers,  as  if  demons  of  air 

Descended  from  all  their  high  places,  to  build 
A  hall  for  the  Monarch  of  darkness  there. 

Then  a  murmur  of  sounds,  intermingled  and  loud, 
Like  echoes  sepulchral,  swell'd  hollow  and  long  ; 

As  if  the  grey  wings  of  that  earth- walking  cloud, 
Conceal'd,  in  debate,  a  wild,  turbulent  throng. 

Soon  the  dark  fog  uplifted  its  broad  skirts  again, 
Like  the  screen  of  a  stage,  and  reveal' d  to  the  maid, 

A  numberless  group  of  light  figures,  in  green, 
On  each  side  of  the  field,  like  an  army  array'd. 

Impatient,  with  "hurleys"  held  forward,  they  stood, 

And  Brideen,  with  one  keen,  sweeping  glance,  view'd  them  all, 

But  her  heart  gave  a  leap,  like  a  fish  from  a  flood, 
When  they  call'd  upojr-Fineen  to  toss  up  the  ball. 

At  the  name,  her  glad  soul  shot  its  arrows  of  light, 

From  the  stars  of  her  eyes,  thro'  the  midst  of  the  band, 

Where  she  saw  her  beloved,  in  his  vigour  and  might, 

Fling  the  ball  towards  the  sky,  like  a  bird  from  his  hand. 

With  upturn'd  faces  they  eagerly  gazed, 

Thro'  the  low-hanging  cloud,  where  the  flying  ball  went, 
And  cheering  aloud,  with  their  hurleys  upraised, 

To  strike  it,  they  rush'd,  in  its  rapid  descent. 

Down  it  came,  and  young  Fineen,  as  rapid  as  light, 

With  one  bold,  sweeping  blow  struck  it  off  towards  the  South ; 

And  it  hiss'd  thro'  the  throng,  in  its  swift- winged  flight, 
Like  a#iot  iron  globe  from  a  cannon's  black  mouth. 

Away  went  the  hurlers — each  flew,  like  a  bird, 
Over  hedges  and  dykes,  in  pursuit  of  the  ball ; 

Not  a  grass-blade  nor  leaf  in  their  light  track  was  stirr'd, 
And  the  swift-footed  Fineen  was  foremost  of  all. 

Towards  the  old  church  of  Mungret  the  flying  throng  sped— 
Weird  laughter,  and  cheering,  and  yelling  arose  ; 

While  over  the  grass-circled  homes  of  the  dead 
Roll'd  the  ball,  whirl'd  on  'mid  a  torrent  of  blows. 

In  and  out  thro'  the  grey  Abbey-ruin  they  dash'd, 
Jostling  and  wrestling  o'er  crosses  and  stones  ; 

Loud  rang  the  dark  tombs,  while  the  strong  hurleys  clash'd, 
And  drove  into  dust  broken  coffins  and  bones. 

pp  bounded  the  ball  on  the  old  steeple's  crest. 
And  hid  in  its  dark -tangled  ivy-plume  there  ; 
\it  as  thick  and  as  clamorous  as  crows  round  their  nest 
IJp  flew  the  wild  throng,  save  Fineen,  thro'  the  air. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  269 

With  their  hurleys  they  slash'd  the  dark  ivy  away, 
Tripp'd,  jostled  and  tumbled  each  other  about, 

'Till  from  the  deep  covert  of  leaves  where  it  lay, 
Between  rolling  and  tossing,  they  struck  the  ball  out. 

Away  to  the  ground  went  the  tumult  again, 
And  off,  towards  the  mist-shadow 'd  woods  of  Tirvoe, 

Dash'd  the  crowd,  like  a  storm-hunted  wave,  o'er  the  plain, 
While  before  thern  the  ball,  like  a  chased  raven,  flew. 

Again  they  came  sweeping  and  bounding  amain, 

To  the  broad,  yellow  field  near  the  dark-bosom'd  wood 

And  the  ball,  from  the  heart  of  the  throng,  was  struck  in 
Towards  the  bush  where  Brideen  by  the  gloomy  hedge  stood. 

To  the  ditch  rush'd  the  crowd,  but  Fineen  was  the  first 
To  raise  on  his  hurley  and  strike  up  the  ball ; 

On  its  path  thro'  the  dim  sky  the  Fairy  throng  burst, 
As  if  a  mad  whirlwind  had  lifted  them  all. 

Fineen  on  the  field,  gazing  upward,  remain'd, 

While  the  hurlers  tumultuously  roll'd  thro'  the  air, 

And  the  maid  look'd  as  if  her  life-pulses  were  chain'd 

Between  wild  fear  and  doubt,  love  and  hope,  and  despair. 

Humbly  signing  the  Cross — "Holy  Saviour  !"  she  cried, 
"Protect  and  restore  him,  this  dark  night,  from  harm  !" 

Her  spirit  grew  strong,  and  she  sprang  to  his  side, 
And  grasp'd  him,  at  once,  by  the  stout,  manly  arm. 

Still  unheeding  he  stood,  gazing  up  thro'  the  air 

Where  the  noise  of  the  hurling  a  moment  was  hush'd ; 

Then  a  roar,  like  the  sound  of  the  storm's  voice  there, 
Was  heard — and  around  her  the  Fairy  host  rush'd. 

Quick  as  thought,  from  the  robe  of  her  bosom  she  drew, 
(While  her  grasp  on  Fineen  was  still  firmer  press'd) 

The  spell-breaking  blade  of  the  dreaded  skein  dhu, 
Which  she  held  in  her  right  hand  before  the  youth's  breast. 

With  horrible  screamings  the  wrathful  crowd  reel'd 

From  the  wierd  steel  which  gleam'd  in  the  hand  of  the  maid, 

But  she  trembled  and  sank,  in  a -swoon,  on  the  field, 
And  dropp'd  from  her  faint  grasp  the  magical  blade. 

Like  the  wind's  dismal  sound  in  a  churchyard,  at  night 
The  Fairy-throng  fled,  with  a  wild,  sullen  roar  ; 

And  Fineen  was  gone — and  the  soul-guiding  light 
Of  reason  returned  to  the  maiden  no  more. 


270  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMONT). 

THE  BARDS. 

Oh,  for  the  Bards  !  the  glorious  Bards  !  the  pride  of  the  days 

of  old, 
When  the  honour'd  claim  of  a  manly  name  was  not  founded 

on  servile  gold  ; 
When  the  chiefs  of  our  land,  with  chivalrous  hand,  gave  Genius 

a  regal  crown, 
While  the  soulless  knave  to  a  nameless  grave,  like  a  grovelling 
worm  went  down ! 

When,  with  godlike  might, 
Worth,  fame,  and  right 
Were  defended  by  steel-nerved  men — 
0  God  of  the  Free  ! 
It  was  grand  to  see 
The  pomp  of  our  country  then  ! 

Here's  to  the  Bards  !  the  brave  old  Bards !  who  kindled  the 

martial  fire, 
In  Chief  and  Prince,  with  the  eloquence  and  magic  of  harp  and 

lyre  ; 
When  the  soul  of  the  proud,  like  a  lightning- cloud,  flamed  up 

at  the  thrill  of  Song, 
And  leapt  to  the  fight,   with  a  fierce  delight,  to  avenge 
unmanly  wrong  : 

For  the  brave  Bards  gave, 
Like  a  mountain-wave, 
A  sweep  to  the  warriof  s  brand, 
And  fired  him  to  show 
The  mark  of  his  blow, 
When  a  tyrant  was  in  the  land. 

The  Norman  Lords,  with  their  valorous  swords,  to  our  Isle  as 

Invaders  came, 
But  soon  they  grew  to  that  land  more  true  than  the  Irish  in 

birth  and  name ; 
For  our  Island- Song,  with  a  witchery  strong,  on  their  souls 

threw  an  Irish  spell, 
And  their  brave  hearts  felt  the  fire  of  the  Celt,  and  they  show'd 
they  lov'd  Erin  well. 

But  gone  are  the  Bards, 
And  the  Warrior  Lords, 
The  pride  of  the  times  of  yore ; 
And  a  bloodless  race 
Has  taken  their  place, 
Where  freemen  are  seen  no  more  ! 

■•*  (!>h  !  splendid  days  when  love  and  praise  were  the  meed  of  the 
bold  and  true —  , 

When  hands  were  strong  to  resent  a  wrong,  and  traitors  and 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  271 

When  no  hireling  spy  dared  come  to  pry  round  the  homes  of 

the  toiling  poor, 
For  our  Princes  ruled,  with  a  rod  of  gold,  in  their  people's  love 
secure ; 

And  the  halls  of  the  Peer 
Shook  with  roaring  cheer, 
And  the  traveller  was  welcome  in — 
0  God  of  the  Brave  ! 
It  was  grand  to  live 
In  the  Kingdom  of  Erin  then  ! 
Then  here's  to  the  Bards !  the  proud  old  Bards !  that  hurled  our 

clans  to  fight, 
Like  the  headlong  dash  of  a  thunder-crash,  'gainst  a  foreign 

Invader's  might ; 
When  our  chieftains  broke  from  Henry's  yoke,  what  sharpen'd 

their  battle- swords 
To  strike  for  their  right,  with  courage  and  might  ? — 'twas  the 
songs  of  our  brave  old  Bards — 
High  souls  of  Song  ! 
Stern  foes  of  wrong  ! 
Since  perished  your  order  grand, 
The  lions  are  dead — 
The  eagles  have  fled, 
And  jackals  have  curst  the  land. 


THE  BATTLE  OF   MONABRAHER,  * 
a.*.  1510. 
The  crimson  crown  £>f  morn  in  the  yellow  orient  shone, 
And  a  heaven-flood  of  f ulgence  on  the  bright'ning  earth  was 

thrown ; 
The  azure-breasted  mountains  laid  their  cloudy  night-robes  by, 
And  the  rivers  danced  in  glory,  with  their  sounding  songs  of  joy. 

To  Monabraher's  marshy  plain  the  stern  Kildare  advanced, 
And  grandly,  in  the  rising  sun,  his  spear-ridged  columns  glanced ; 
Magnificent  his  cavalry — a  living  iron  wave- 
Moved  on,  in  grim  and  glittering  pomp,  with  crested  helm 
and  glaive. 

There's  vengeance  in  his  raging  soul,  for  Thomond's  hostile 

King, 
And  he  has  vow'd  a  dreadful  scourge  to  Thomond's  land  to 

bring; 

*  "  A.D.  1510,  the  Lord  Justice  Fitzgerald,  Earl  of  Kildare,  raised  a  great 
army  of  English  and  Irish,  and  marched  through  Munster,  taking  spoils 
and  capturing  castles.  After  many  uninterrupted  successes,  he  marched 
into  Thomond,  to  despoil  the  country,  and  take  vengeance  on  Torlogh  Donn 
O'Brien,  for  aiding  Mac  William  against  him,  at  the  battle  of  Knocktow, 
fought  on  the  19th  of  August,  1504.  O'Brien,  MacNamara,  and  MacWilliam, 
with  their  several  clans,  met  .him  at  Monabraher,  where  a"  fierce  encounter 
ensued,  in  which  Kildare  and  his  army  were  defeated,  with  heavy  loss,  and 
totally  routed  from  the  field."— Memoir  of  the  O'Briens. 


272  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

For,  since  the  furious  battle-day  of  slaughter-dyed  Knocktow,* 
A  deadly  hatred,  fix'd  and  fierce,  between  the  chieftains  grew. 
And  now  to  ravage  Thomond's  soil  the  wrathful  Lord  is  come — 
A  stormy  gleam  of  vengeful  joy  lights  up  his  eye  of  gloom, 
As  on  the  fertile,  sunny  hills,  with  burning  looks  he  gazed, 
Where  white-fleeced  flocks  and  lowing  herds,    in  chequer'd 

numbers  grazed. 
Is  it  a  sudden  sun-blaze  which  has  burst  on  yonder  height, 
As  if  the  branches  of  the  wood  had  turn'd  to  shafts  of  light  ? 
As  if  the  fern,  and  larchen  groves  that  skirt  the  mountain-glen, 
Were  all  transformed  to  banners,  spears,  and  ranks  of  warlike 

men? 

Lo  !  'tis  Clanrickard  and  O'Brien,  and  MacNamara  stern, 
With  many  a  bearded  gallowglass  and  yellow-skirted  kern  ; 
They  march  against  thy  host,  Kildare !— The  battle  of  Knocktow 
Was  bloody,  but  to-day  thou  hast  more  bloody  work  to  do  ! 
Then  spoke  the  bold  O'Donnelrf  to  the  proud  Lord  of  Kildare, 
"To  meet  those  Dalcas  wolves  of  blood  let  every  man  prepare! 
For,  by  St.  Columkille !  I  think  we'll  hardly  keep  our  ground, 
Except  we  pay  them  death  for  death,  and  more  than  wound 
for  wound ! 

'Tis  true  we  foiled  them  at  Knocktow,  yet  'twas  a  chance 

of  war, 
But  now,  my  Lord,  we've  come  to  beard  the  lion  in  his  lair ! 
And  here  he's  rushing  on  us,  in  his  angry  might  and  pride, 
So  meet  him  bravely,  steel  to  steel,  and  let  our  fate  be  tried !" 

Then,  with  a  sullen,  haughty  scowl,  the  fierce  Kildare  replied, 
"Bear  quick  my  order  to  the  troops  to  lay  their  spoils  aside  ! 
Let  Baron  Kent  and  Barnewall  command  the  left  and  right, 
Whilst  in  the  front  ourselves  will  bide  the  onslaught  of  the 
fight! 

Mac  Carthy  ! }  draw  the  cavalry  behind  yon  sedgy  bank, 
And  charge,  with  all  thy  headlong  might,  upon  the  Dalcas- 

flank ! 
For  if  thou  can'st  succeed  to  break  their  fiery  steel-array, 
Then,  by  my  soul,  our  spearmen  brave  shall  give  them  bloody 
play!" 

Now   thro'  the  waving  host  were  heard  the  leaders'  loud 

commands, 
And  forming  into  battle-lines  appear'd  the  serried  bands ; 

*  Knocktow  signifies  the  Hill  of  Axes.  It  is  in  the  County  Galway,  and 
takes  its  name  from  the  destructive  battle  waged  there  in  1504,  between 
the  mixed  armies  of  Normans  and  Irish  on  each  side. 

+  O'Donnell,  Prince  of  Tyrconnel,  aided  Lord  Kildare  in  this  expedition. 

$  "  MacCarthy  Reagh  of  Desmond,  also  joined  the  Lord  Justice  in  his  raid 
against  the  King  of  Thomond.  Kildare' s  army  was  heavily  laden  with  the 
spoils  of  half  the  province,  but  all  those  rich  spoils  fell  into  the  hands  of  the 
victors  at  Monabraher."— Annals  of  Thomond. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  273 

A  dancing  cloud  of  varying  plumes  above  the  columns  spreads ' 
Like  bending  lines  of  burning  trees,  with  smoke-wreaths  on 
their  heads. 

Near  and  more  near  the  phalanx  of  the  wrathful  Dalgais  drew, 
Loud  and  more  loud  their  martial  horns  and  battle -trumpets 

blew, 
'Till,  just  a  bowshot  from  their  foes,  they  gave  one  furious  yell, 
And,  with  tempestuous  madness,  on  the  reeling  squadrons  fell. 

Tremendous  as  a  deluge,  thro'  the  centre  ranks  they  burst, 
Like  the  fiery -pinion'd  lightning  on  the  storm's  bosom  nurst ; 
And  backward,  shatter' d  and  confused,  the  broken  vanguard 

reePd, 
And  seven  brave  knights  of  noble  name  lay  bleeding  on  the 

field. 

But  rallying,  in  his  desperate  might,  Kildare  maintains  his 

ground, 
While  fast  as  rain  drops  in  a  lake,  his  men  are  falling  round, 
Shrill  roar' d  the  deadly  crash  of  steel,  and  loud  above  the  clang 
Of  reeking  swords  and  biting  spears,  the  ponderous  axes  rang. 

The  crimson  hurricane  of  war  on  all  sides  shifts  and  veers, 
And  thro'  the  swaying  cloud  of  death  thick  flew  the  greedy 

spears ; 
And,  one  by  one,  the  columns  sank,  as  if  the  quivering  plain 
Devour'd  them  down,  and  slaked  its  thirst  with  draughts  of 

bloody  rain. 

Brave  MacNamara,  on  the  left,  engaged  fierce  Baron  Kent, 
And  down  the  Baron  and  his  troops,  like  sedge,  before  him 

went; 
But  furious  on  Clan  Cuilen's  ranks  MacCarthy's  horsemen 

dash'd, 
And  cleaving  thro'  the  broken  line  their  mighty  axes  flashed. 

Now  backward,  at  their  chief's  command,  the  stern  battalions 

swept, 
And  closing  up  their  sever'd  files,  their  firm  position  kept, 
Then  dashing  on  the  cavalry,  with  their  long  pikes  and  spears, 
Headlong  into  a  swampy  marsh  they  charged  the  cavaliers. 

Down,  to  their  glittering  saddle-girths,  the  snorting  horses  sank, 
And  copiously  the  reeking  mire  the  riders'  hearts'  blood  drank ; 
While  round  them,  in  their  vengeance,  yell'd  the  furious,  fiery 

clan, 
Like  tigers,  in  a  desert-waste,  around  a  caravan. 

With  superhuman  efforts,  some  their  saddle-trees  maintain' d, 
And  spurring  hard  their  madden'd  steeds,  the  solid  plain 

regain' d, 
Yet  so  disorder'd,  and  confused,  and  maim'd,  were  steeds  and 

me, 
That  on  the  awful  battle-ground  they  never  charged  again. 


274  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND. 

Now  fearfully  on  Barnewall's  right  the  battle-tempest  roar'd, 
And  on  the  centre,  round  Kildare,  the  crushing  death-blows 

shower'd, 
Red-surging  in  one  naming  sea  of  fierce-contending  arms, 
The  grappling  legions  sway'd  and  raged,  as  mad  as  mountain- 

storms. 

The  splinter'd  spears  and  shatter'd  swords  in  ringing  frag- 
ments flew, 

The  life-rain  thickly  gush'd  and  steam'd,  and  helms  were  cleft 
in  two ; 

The  ranks  seem'd  vanishing  in  earth,  like  waves,  in  wild  career, 

That  toss  their  surf -plumes  to  .the  rocks,  then  sink  and  dis- 
appear. 

Full  in  the  whirlpool  of  the  fight  stood  Thomond's  fiery  King, 
Like  the  spirit  of  an  earthquake  throned  within  a  blazing  ring; 
And  fierce  his  vengeance-flashing  eye  Kildare's  proud  Earl 

sought, 
Around  the  mart  of  blows  and  blood  where  fame  and  death 

were  bought. 

Lo  !  thro'  the  shifting  war-haze,  he  has  mark'd  his  regal  crest, 
And  forward,  'mid  the  storm  of  steel,  the  fiery  Chieftain  press'd, 
But  ere  he  reach'd  the  haughty  Lord,  a  wall  of  spears  was  raised 
Before  his  steps,  and  at  his  breast  their  bristling  fire-points 
blazed. 

Raging  with  disappointed  ire,  the  angry  King  withdrew, 
While  on  his  broad  steel-plated  shield  a  hundred  war-spears 

flew ; 
He  raised  his  mighty  battle-shout — the  moorland-echoes  peal'd, 
And  even  the  wounded  Dalgais  leap'd,  with  vigour,  from  the 

field. 

As  when  the  wintry  ocean  hears  the  whirlwind's  trumpet 

sound, 
In  a  frantic,  foaming  war-dance  all  the  white-brow' d  billows 

bound ; 
Thus,  at  their  King's  inspiring  shout,  the  clans  of  Thomond 

rush'd 
Upon  the  foe,  and  in  the  dust  his  iron  ramparts  crush'd. 

As  lightning-fire  runs  flaming  thro'  a  field  of  wither'd  reeds, 
The  spear-groves  fell,  and  lofty  chiefs  were  hurl'd  from  their 

steeds ; 
In  broken  piles  lay  swords  and  shields,  and  bleeding  bodies 

gash'd, 
And  gore-stain'd  mail,  and  brazen  casques,  like  brittle  timber, 

smash'd. 

In  front  of  his  retreating  host,  with  active  skill  and  might, 
The  stern,  magnanimous  Kildare  prevents  a  general  flight, 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  275 

Majestic  o'er  the  mingled  wreck,  the  lordly  chieftain  seems 
Cool,  as  a  lofty  cliff  of  ice  between  two  dashing  streams. 

Clanrickard's  men  mow'd  Barnewall's  troops,  like  rye-grass, 

on  the  plain, 
Their  leader, by  MacWilliam's  sword,  in  single  fight, was  slain;* 
And  many  a  valiant  lord,  and  knight,  and  cavalier  bold  and 

Upon  that  marshy  field  of  death  in  gory  starkness  lay. 
Night  drew  her  cloudy  curtain  o'er  the  crimson  scene  of  fight, 
As  if  to  hide  the  slaughter-mass  from  heaven's. indignant  sight; 
The  distant  hills'  blue  foreheads  lost  their  diadems  of  sun, 
And  God's  resplendent  planet-host  its  shining  march  begun. 

Upon  a  reedy  mound  which  flank'd  the  lordly  Shannon's  tide, 
O'Brien  sate,  and  round  him  throng'd  his  warriors,  in  their  pride ; 
With  torn  plumes,  and  broken  shields,  and  blunted  arms  they 

stood, 
Like  branchless,  lightning- stricken  pines,  beside  the  darken'd 

flood. 
The  tall  Prince  of  Clan  Cuilen  stood  anear  the  victor-King, 
His  sword-hack 'd  helmet,  in  the  fray,  had  lost  its  eagle-wing ; 
A  spear  had  pierced  his  noble  breast  and  tore  the  reeking  flesh, 
And  redly  down  his  silken  robe  the  blood  ran  warm  and  fresh. 

"My  Lords  and  Chiefs  !"  O'Brien  cried,  "  Men  of  the  Strong 

Right  Hand  ! 
Bright  stars  of  chivalry,  and  flowers  of  Thomond's  royal  land  ! 
The  shame  and  dire  disaster  of  Knocktow's  dark,  ill-starr'd 

fray,f 
In  our  defeated  foemen's  blood,  have  been  washed  out,  to-day  ! 

Then  pitch  our  tents — refresh  our  troops — and,  with  to-mor- 
row's sun, 
We'll  finish  the  destruction  which  to-day  our  swords  begun! 
Tor  if  Kildare  awaits  the  war  until  the  morning's  ray, 
I  promise  the  foul  Carnage-birds  a  larger  share  of  prey  ! 
Light  signal  fires  of  victory  on  every  green  old  hill, 
And  let  our  wounded  clansmen  prove  the  leech's  care  and  skill! 
Send  trusty  scouts  abroad  to  watch  the  movements  of  the  foe — 
I'd  risk  my  life  and  crown  to  give  the  wolf  another  blow !" 
The  chiefs  and  clansmen  raised  a  cheer  that  tore  the  dingy  air, 
And  to  their  camp-fires  and  their  tents  the  parting  troops 

repair ; 
Huge  piles  of  oak  and  bog- wood  flamed  along  the  Shannon's  side, 
And  flung  their  lurid  lines  of  light  across  the  sounding  tide. 

*  Mac  "William  of  Clanrickard  was  Torlogh  O'Brien's  uncle.  The  families 
were  frequently  intermarried.  No  wonder  that  brave  warriors  sprang  from 
a  union  of  these  stormy  tribes  who  scarcely  believed  in  anything  better  than 
ncessant  fighting. 

t  +  "  The  English  had  no  secure  influence  in  Ireland  until  after  the  battle  of 
Knocktow.  That  victory  established  their  power  in  the  Island."-— Jf emoir 
of  the  O'Briens. 


276  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND. 

In  wild  Killeely's*  haunted  glade,  Kildare  a  council  held, 
The  sullen  chiefs,  in  whispering  tones,  their  several  thoughts 

reveal'd, 
And  all  agreed,  at  once,  to  make  a  swift  and  safe  retreat, 
Ere  morning  would  expose  them  to  a  worse  and  sterner  fate. 

"For,"  said  Kildare,   "our  troops  are  maim'd  and  filled  with 

frigid  fear, 
And  certain  ruin  shall  be  ours,  if  daylight  finds  us  here ! 
The  Dalgais  wrought  destructive  work— God's  curse  upon 

their  clan ! 
And  only  night  closed  round  us,  they'd  have  slain  us  every 
man  ! 

"  Then  let  us  go  in  heaven's  name !"    The  broken  host  obeyed, 
And  under  midnight's  shadowy  veil  a  swift  retreat  they  made: 
And  ample  was  the  spoil  they  left  behind  them  on  the  plain, 
And  never  did  they  measure  steel  with  Thomond's  Chiefs  again. 

THE  DARK  SUMMER,  '79. 
Are  the  vials,  seven,  unseal'd  in  heaven  ! — 

Dismal  and  strange  is  the  light  of  day, 
As  if  Winter's  gloom  veil'd  Summer's  bloom 

To  stay  Nature's  will  and  obstruct  her  way. 
Has  some  fiat  divine  sent  this  awful  sign 

To  warn  the  nations  of  wrath  to  come  ? 
There's  something  drear  in  the  sun's  wild  glare, 

And  heaven  is  weeping  and  Nature's  dumb  ! 
Like  a  giant  in  pain,  with  a  fever'd  brain, 

The  thunder  groans  'mid  the  aerial  gloom, 
And  the  lightnings  gleam,  like  God's  pen  of  flame 

When  writing  dark  deeds  in  his  Book  of  Doom. 
No  genial  morn  smiles  on  the  corn — 

No  day  without  torrents  and  gloomy  wind — 
Perish'd  fields  seem  to  cry  for  heat  to  the  sky,  # 

But  the  sky  to  their  pleadings  is  deaf  and  blind. 
No  kind  beam  warms  the  sodden  farms — 

Vain  is  the  labour  of  spades  and  ploughs ; 
No  seeds  doth  spring  and  no  birds  doth  sing, 

And  the  fruit  is  sick  on  the  languid  boughs. 
In  bower  and  vale  Nature's  charms  grow  pale, 

Like  a  lovely  young  bride  in  consumption  slow ; 

•Monabraher  is  a  townlandinthe  parish  of  Killeely,  on  the  county  Clare 
side  of  the  Shannon,  about  a  mile  outside  Limerick.  See  note,  page  30.  A 
road  which  was  called  the  Causeway  waa  made  through  this  plain  by  King 
Brian,  early  in  the  tenth  century. 

t  * '  Killeely  was  dissolved  by  Queen  Elizabeth,  together  with  Kilquan,  Quin 
Abbey,  and  other  churches,  in  1583.  Henceforth  it  became  a  common 
burial-ground,  with  the  venerable  ruins  of  St.  Leila's  Church  standing  in 
the  midst  of  increasing  graves.  Leila  signifies  "Virgin  Lily."  She  was  the 
daughter  of  Seanna,  one  of  the  ancient  princes  of  Thomond." — AnnaU  of 
Thomond. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND.  277 

Thro'  the  sky's  highway,  like  a  funeral  array, 
The  dark  clouds  pass  with  the  signs  of  woe. 

The  mad  flood  fills  all  the  breasts  of  the  hills — 

The  rivers  have  risen  to  drown  the  plain  ; 
Squalls  rave  aloud,  cloud  climbs  upon  cloud, 

As  if  charged  with  the  vengeance  of  Noah's  rain. 
Drear  morning's  ray  melts  into  drear  day, 

In  his  sable  robe  still  frowns  the  angry  sun, 
Or  gives  a  fierce  stare,  like  a  miser's  despair 

When  his  store  is  robb'd  and  his  gold  is  gone. 
The  keen  winds  blow  as  if  breathing  snow, 

And  day  feels  chill  as  the  wintry  moon ; 
May  seems  November,  July  December, 

And  the  blossoms  of  Spring  were  transferr'd  to  June. 
There  is  fear  over  all  as  if  the  great  ball 

Of  the  earth  from  its  axis  were  doom'd  to  fall, 
And  again  roll  back  to  chaotic  rack 

In  the  bosom  of  Night's  eternal  pall. 
Was  this  doom  foretold  by  the  Seer  of  old  ? 

That  spoke  to  the  Angel  of  God  sublime  ! 
Who  gave  him  to  see,  thro'  eternity, 

Earth's  death-records  under  the  shades  of  Time. 
Does  this  omen  strange  forerun  some  change 

In  the  list  of  nations  and  fate  of  men  ? 
Or  do  we  gaze  on  the  evil  days 

Portray 'd  by  the  mighty  Evangel's  pen  ? 


CAROLINE  MARY  NIXON, 

The  beautiful  and  beloved  daughter  of  Archdeacon  Goold, 

DIED   MAY   10TH,    1875. 

Thou  hast  left  us  in  the  Spring-time,  when  the  glory  of  the 

flowers, 
With  their  glistening  rainbow-splendours,    fill'd  the    sunny 

fields  and  bowers ; 
In  the  dewy-vernal  radiance  of  the  blossom-vested  May, 
To  Death's  shadow,  cold  and  gloomy,  our  sweet  Mary  pass'd 

away. 

As  in  spirit,  I  stand  weeping  o'er  the  place  of  thy  repose, 
My  soul  beholds  the  vision  of  thy  beauty,  gentle  rose ! 
With  love's  glowing  richness  warm,  and  exalted  thought  refined, 
Was  thy  bright  ethereal  form  and  thy  nobly-moulded  mind  I 

Sure  thy  sweet  face  was  like  heaven  when  the  April  days  are 
bright, 

And  the  bloom  of  earth  is  gushing  into  loveliness  and  light ; 

And  thy  voice,  like  fairy  warbling  of  the  hill-fount's  virgin-tone, 

Telling,  love-tales  to  the  red  flowers  that  surround  its  mountain- 
throne  ) 


278  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Like  the  calm  star's  mystic  splendour  in  the  dreamy  Autumn- 
sky, 

Was  the  spirit-beaming  glory  of  thy  soft,  majestic  eye, 

And  the  rich  flood  of  thy  tresses,  round  thy  queenly  angel- 
brow, 

Flowed  resplendent,  as  a  dark  stream  by  a  winding  bank  of 
snow ! 

Lovely  Mary !  tho'  thy  beauty  was  the  rarest  earth  could  find, 
It  was  naught  to  the  perfection  of  thy  gentle-loving  mind ; 
Tho'  thy  person  was  enchanting,  and  thy  peerless  manners 

warm, 
Yet  thy  love  was  heaven's  language  speaking  through  thy 

radiant  form ! 

Thou  wert  bowed  with  early  sorrow,  and  the  Cross  of  pain  was 

thine, 
Which  thou'st  carried,  with  true  meekness,  like  thy  patient 

Lord  divine ; 
For  thy  soul  was,  like  his  angels,  pure,  intelligent  and  high, 
And  thy  rich,  celestial  beauty  was  made  only  for  the  sky! 

There  is  sadness  round  thy  dwelling,  for  the  beautiful  who 

gave 
Life  and  sweetness  to  her  household,  lies  in  darkness  of  the 

grave; 
And  the  voice  of  joy  is  silent,  for  its  brightness  is  all  gone, 
Like  the  lonely  bower  of  summer  when  the  wintry  gloom 

comes  on. 

Can  I  b'lieve  it  ?  can  I  b'lieve  it,  that  so  sweet  a  flower  is  dead? 
Can  I  b'lieve  that  such  true  loveliness  has  fill'd  an  earthy  bed? 
Then  away  with  all  Earth's  phantoms,  Grandeur, Title,  Wealth 

and  Pride, 
They  are  airy  rainbow-shadows,  since  our  darling  Mary  died ! 


LAMENT  FOR  THE  VENERABLE  ARCHDEACON 
GOOLD. 

Who  died  in  Bath,  January  3lst,  1877. 

A  gentleman  ennobled  by  every  generous  Christian  virtue,  a  landlord  of 
exalted  humane  feelings.  If  the  landlords  of  Ireland  would  only  treat 
their  tenantry  with  the  kindness  and  consideration  which  he  conferred 
on  his,  there  would  be  no  rack-renting,  no  eviction,  no  misery  amongst 
the  peasantry,  and  consequently  no  agrarian  outrage. 

The  wintry-eve  began  to  fall 

Along  the  Shannon's  angry  tide  ; 
The  cold  mist,  like  a  mourning  pall, 

Was  gathering  on  the  mountain  side ; 
The  dreary  blast  was  whistling  loud, 

As  o'er  the  darkening  surge  it  trod, 
And  high  in  heaven,  each  black-fringed  cloud 

Look  d  awful  as  the  frown  of  God. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  279 

Among  the  leafless  trees  I  stood, 

Sad  gazing  on  the  bleakness  'round, 
While  to  my  ear  the  mighty  flood 

Bore  some  deep  sorrow  in  its  sound — 
A  friend  approach'd  me,  up  the  way, 

And  he,  with  pensive  accents,  said, 
"  There's  gloomy  news  for  us,  to  day — 

The  good  Archdeacon  Goold  is  dead  !" 

As  one  who  feels  a  mortal  wound, 

My  heart  received  the  tale  of  woe  ; 
I  bow'd  my  sad  face  towards  the  ground, 

And  streams  of  grief  began  to  flow. 
"  Oh,  God  of  Life !"  with  wild  regret, 

I  cried  aloud,   "  Why  dost  Thou  give 
The  good  so  short  a  date,  while  yet 

The  worthless  and  the  wicked  live  ?" 

Loved  benefactor  of  my  lyre — 

Alas  !  no  more  thou'lt  hear  me  sing — 
The  fate  which  quenched  thy  noble  fire, 

Has  broken  my  wild  harp's  sweetest  string ! 
In  silence  shall  my  soul  bemoan 

The  generous  patron  of  my  song  ; 
Like  some  sad  wounded  bird  alqne, 

The  wintry  desert-boughs  among  ! 

All  godlike  virtues  in  thy  soul 

Had  traced  their  course  in  one  grand  line ; 
Like  springs  that  from  the  hill-tops  roll, 

In  one  majestic  tide  to  shine — 
Humanity's  ennobling  power 

Had  form'd  its  temple  in  thy  heart, 
As  dwells  the  odour  in  the  flower, 

Untutor'd  and  untouch'd  by  art ! 

If  gratitude  still  lives  on  earth, 

What  grateful  tears  must  fall  for  thee  ? 
Thy  honest  truth  and  generous  worth, 

Among  mankind,  'tis  rare  to  see  ! 
Tho'  many  a  cross  was  mine  to  bear, 

And  many  a  grievous  loss  I  knew ; 
But  now  the  most  intense,  severe, 

Of  all  my  griefs— is  losing  you ! 

The  rich  and  great  may  lie  in  state, 

With  mourning's  pomp  around  them  spread ; 
Their  life  is  but  a  glittering  cheat, 

And  mourning  mocks  them  when  they're  dead. 
But  thou  to  heavenly  worth  so  dear, 

Thus  unlamented  shalt  not  go ! 
A  loving  tear  dropp'd  on  thy  bier, 

Is  more  than  all  the  great  can  show ! 


280  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Thy  heart  was  honour's  gem  of  light 

Where  love  for  God  and  mankind  shone ; 
Thy  mind  nobility's  centre  bright, 

Where  kindness  fixed  its  chosen  throne ; 
Tho'  now  thou'rt  laid  in  cold  decay, 

Consign'd  to  darkness,  dust,  and  worms, 
There's  more  true  worth  in  thy  dead  clay 

Than  in  a  thousand  living  forms  ! 

If  in  those  beauteous  mystic  spheres 

Beyond  this  doleful  world  of  care, 
God  wipes  away  the  spirit's  tears, 

You're  with  your  own  sweet  Mary*  there- 
But,  many  a  lonely  friendless  hour, 

Thy  peerless  loss  shall  I  bewail ; 
Grief  is  the  only  balm  to  pour 

Into  the  wound  I  cannot  heal! 


ANNIVERSARY  OF  THE  DEATH  OF  THE  VENERABLE 

ARCHDEACON  GOOLD, 

{January  31s£,  1878.) 

This  Lament  is  most  respectfully  and  sorrowfully  dedicated  to  his  kind- 
hearted,  faithful,  and  bereaved  Lady,  Mrs.  Goold,  as  a  sincere  tribute  of 
gratitude  and  love  paid  his  endeared  memory,  by  the  Bard  of  Thomond. 

Again  the  woeful  day  appears — 

The  dark-faced  day — which  saw  my  friend, 
In  the  full  pride  of  reverend  years, 

And  honour'd  worth,  draw  near  his  end  : 
Oh,  were  my  heart  one  large  hot  tear 

Thy  life's  rich  fountain  to  supply, 
And  hold  on  earth  a  gem  so  dear, 

My  kind  one,  you  should  never  die  ! 

'Tis  Christmas,  and  the  holly  bough 

Is  glistening  in  my  little  room  ; 
Small  is  my  care  for  Christmas  now, 

Because  it  brings  me  grief  and  gloom. 
The  generous  present  from  his  hand 

Shall  I  receive  ?    Ah,  never  more ! 
While  all  seem  happy  round  the  land, 

My  lonely  heart  is  sad  and  sore ! 

I  hate  all  intercourse  with  men, 

Their  forms  are  dark  and  void  to  me ; 

For  well  I  know  that  ne'er  again, 
Among  their  race,  his  like  I'll  see ! 

*  Alluding  to  his  beautiful  daughter,  Caroline  Mary,  who  died  on  10th 
Of  May,  1875. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND  281 

But  I  am  here,  and  he  is  gone 
From  this  blank  scene  of  sin  and  shame, 

And  all  remains  to  me,  alone, 
Is  but  his  dearly-cherished  name. 

I  mark  the  solitary  gloom 

That  deepens  o'er  the  evening  sky — 
Its  shades  remind  me  of  the  tomb 

Where  his  beloved  ashes  lie  : 
I  weep  to  see  yon  envious  cloud 

Across  the  twilight  beam  extend, 
For  it  reminds  me  of  the  shroud 

That  wraps  my  once  bright-hearted  Friend! 

A  white  star  glimmers  in  the  East ; 

I  know  its  pensive  brow  of  light, 
Itjweeps  above  his  dreamless  rest, 

Far  in  the  lovely  Isle  of  Wight — 
Thou  beauteous  and  mysterious  star ! 

Like  me,  thou  seem'st  to  mourn  alone ! 
Oh,  tell  me,  glorious  orb !  how  far 

Beyond  thee  has  his  spirit  gone  ? 

From  heaven's  blue,  silent  solitude, 

Methought  it  was  thy  voice  replied, 
But,  no,  it  was  the  naked  wood, 

Complaining  to  the  wintry  tide  ; 
It  was  the  sullen  western  wind, 

That  stripp'd  the  boughs  of  their  last  leaf, 
And,  with  its  drear-y  dirge,  combined 

To  swell  my  bosom's  song  of  grief  ! 

Kindred  companionship  for  me 

Have  all  things  drear  and  desolate ; 
In  fallen  leaf  and  faded  tree, 

I  read  the  scripture  of  my  fate ! 
I  wish  I  we're  the  mountain-wind, 

In  desert  places  to  complain, 
'Twould  suit  my  wildly-sorrowing  mind, 

And  gloomy  pictures  of  my  brain  ! 
In  acts  of  mercy,  all  your  days, 

Even,  like  the  Saviour,  did  you  spend, 
Your  bounty  flow'd  a  thousand  ways, 

To  all  God's  poor  you  were  a  friend! 
Your  loss  has  cast  a  wintry  cloud 

O'er  many  a  heart  you  fill'd  with  joy ; 
It  is  the  selfish  and  the  proud, 

Not  you,  0  darling,  that  should  die  ! 

To  your  beloved  memory 

I'll  never — never  bid  adieu ! 
For  you  were  always  kind  to  me — 

I  had  no  friend  on  earth  but  you! 
19 


282  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Accept  this  sad  song,  with  a  tear, 
'Tis  all  my  fond  heart  has  to  give, 

And  while  one  throb  of  life  is  there, 
Deep  in  its  centre  you  shall  live ! 


THE  DOOM  OF  BRIAN  ROE. 

A   LEGEND   OF   BUNRATTY. 

The  woods  of  Bunratty  are  clothed  with  snow, 
And  cold,  round  the  Castle,  the  winter- winds  blow ; 
The  river  in  gleaming  ice-armour  is  bound, 
And  the  marsh-reeds  with  bright  silver  tassels  are  crowa'd 
The  hills,  with  the  deep  drifted  splendour,  are  gemm'd, 
But  their  brows  with  a  low-hanging  cloud-veil  are  dimm'd 
For  the  Polar  snow-spirit  is  there  in  the  cloud, 
Repairing  the  sun- wasted  skirts  of  his  shroud. 

The  shadows  of  night  round  the  proud  Castle  grew, 
And  shrilly  the  north-blast  its  ice-whistle  blew, 
At  the  dungeon-tower  window  the  Earl's  son  stands, 
With  strong  iron  chains  on  his  feet  and  his  hands, 
A  prisoner  of  war  since  the  grim  battle-day,  * 
When  red  slaughter-piles  round  the  Castle-walls  lay  ; 
When  the  stormy  O'Briens  mow'd  each  other,  like  hay, 
For  the  blood-circled  throne  of  their  turbulent  sway. 

The  captive-chief  gazed  thro'  the  drift-darkened  air, 
Round  the  plains  where  the  snow-sheets  lay  dusky  and  drear 
While  his  thoughts,  in  a  transient  dream,  wander'd  away, 
O'er  the  wild  Connaught-hills,  to  the  towers  of  Loch  Rea. 
But  a  screech-owl  flew  past,  with  a  desolate  scream, 
Dispelling  the  gossamer-web  of  his  dream ; 
And  he  look'd  at  the  strong  dungeon-walls  with  a  sigh, 
And  a  death-spear  of  flame  seem'd  to  leap  from  his  eye. 

The  old  rusty  bell  of  the  abbey  toll'd  one, 
And  the  Lord  of  the  Castle  to  slumber  is  gone ; 
The  noise  of  the  wassailers  has  died  in  the  hall, 
For  the  potent  wine-god  has  o'ermaster'd  them  all ; 
Every  chamber  is  still — not  a  step,  voice,  or  sound — 
Save  the  freezing  wind  whistling  the  casements  around, 
Reach'd  the  lone  captive's  ear,  in  his  cold  prison-cell, 
But  the  scream  of  the  bird  and  the  tone  of  the  bell. 

*  "A.I).  1310.  Dermod  O'Brien,  aided  "by  De Clare,  advanced  against 
Donogh,  who  was  joined  by  the  De  Burghs,  ard  a  battle  was  fought  under 
the  walls  of  Bunratty,  in  which  six  hundred  Galloglasses  of  Donogh's  army 
were  slain,  and  "William  De  Burgo,  son  of  the  Earl  of  Ulster,  taken  prisoner. 
This  victory  was  followed  up  by  an  attack  on  the  palace  of  Clonroad,  the 
residence  of  the  defeated  Prince,  which  was  plundered  and  burned  to  the 
ground." — Memoir  of  the  O'Briens.  See  a  description  of  the  Battla  of  Bun- 
ratty in  this  volume. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  283 

Who  whispers  his  name  on  the  lawn  underneath, 

Where  the  snow  lies  as  white  as  the  shroud-robe  of  death? 

He  bends  his  ear  close  to  the  cold  window  stone, 

In  the  pause  of  the  blast,  to  distinguish  the  tone — 

'Tis  repeated  again,  more  distinctly  and  true, 

And  he  casts  thro'  the  depth  of  the  night-shade  his  view 

To  the  white  frozen  plain — while  his  motionless  eyes 

Seem,  like  rock-crystals,  frigid,  and  fixed  with  surprize. 

For  he  saw,  by  a  blue  light  that  flicker'd  below, 

A  black  oaken  coffin  recline  on  the  snow, 

And  around  it  a  group  of  gaunt  skeleton-forms — 

With  half -moulder 'd  shrouds  hanging  loose  on  their  arms — 

Stood  in  serious  debate,  while  each  one  of  the  band 

Held  a  green  meteor-torch,  o'er  the  bier,  in  his  hand, 

And  the  dull  icy  glare  of  their  eyes,  thro'  the  gloom, 

Seem'd  like  dim  moonlight  rain-drops  asleep  on  a  tomb. 

Their  shadowy  robes  half  conceai'd  their  gaunt  bones, 
And  their  pallid  lips  whisper'd  low  mystical  tones ; 
But  their  garments  seem'd  woven  of  substance  so  light, 
Like  cobwebs,  they  flow'd  on  the  blast  of  the  night ; 
Thro'  the  darkness  their  features  a  weird  palor  shed, 
Like  the  gray  stains  of  time  on  the  stone  of  the  dead ; 
And  each  wore  a  sword  half  corroded  with  rust, 
As  if  it  lay  buried  for  ages  in  dust. 

But  one  Spectre,  who  look'd  as  the  Chief  of  the  band, 
O'er  the  black  coffin  motion'd  his  skeleton-hand  ; 
And  the  pall  was  removed,  and  the  dark  lid  upraised, 
And  all  on  the  gloomy  corpse  mournfully  gazed — 
Then  he,  who  was  Chief,  to  the  dead  cried  aloud, 
"Arise,  mouldering  clay,  from  tlry  murder-stain'd  shroud  ! 
And  hear  me  pronounce,  to  thy  worm-eaten  face, 
The  doom  of  thy  foes,  and  thyself,  and  thy  race  !" 

At  these  words,  a  grim  meteor-eyed  raven  drew  near, 
As  dark  as  a  hell-cloud,  and  perch'd  on  the  bier, 
While  the  groaning  corpse  slowly  uplifted  its  head, 
And  sat,  trembling,  erect  in  its  cold  coffin-bed  ; 
The  limbs  from  the  trunk  by  the  bare  sinews  hung, 
And  each  bone  from  its  joint  was  distorted  and  wrung ; 
The  body  was  sunder'd,  all  fearful  to  view, 
As  if  wild  beasts  had  dragg'd  it  and  torn  it  in  two. 

"Brian  Roe,*  King  of  Thomond  !"  the  Spectre-Chief  said, 
"  There's  a  curse  on  thy  deeds  and  there's  blood  on  thy  head  ! 

*  A.  D.  1267.  Brian  Roe,  King  of  Thomond,  was  deposed  by  the  O'Deas 
and  MacNamaras,  and  Torloghhis  nephew,  who  was  the  rightful  claimant, 
placed  on  the  throne  in  his  stead.  Brian  immediately  solicited  the  aid  of 
Thomas  de  Clare,  a  young  Norman  adventurer,  who  was  after  landing  in 
Cork,  with  a  stroug  band  of  followers     De  Clare  promised  the  required 


284  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND. 

Thy  steed-torn,  mangled,  and  shatter'd  remains, 
Attest  how  the  Norman  rewarded  thy  pains ! 
By  the  sword  thou  hast  fashion'd  the  fetters  of  slaves, 
And  the  sword  shall  pursue  all  thy  sons  to  their  graves, 
For  thy  hand  with  the  blood  of  thy  kindred  was  dyed, 
And  that  blood  on  yon  war-pile  shall  never  be  dried  ! — 

Shall  never  be  dried  while  the  name  of  De  Clare 

Is  written  in  slaughter  and  perfidy  there ! 

But  vengeance  shall  come,  like  a  tempest  of  flame, 

And  sweep  from  that  Castle  his  race  and  his  name ! 

And  its  gore-reeking  towers  shall  relate  to  all  time, 

A  soul-awing  story  of  treason  and  crime ; 

Yet  its  murder-stain'd  chambers  a  stranger  shall  own, 

When  there's  no  king  in  Thomond  to  sit  on  a  throne ! 

By  thy  hand  which  has  reap'd  the  red  fruit  of  thy  deeds! 

By  thy  shatter'd  limbs  tortured  and  torn  by  steeds  ! 

By  the  black  devastation  the  stranger  has  spread 

Round  the  doom-clouded  land,  white  with  bones  of  the  dead  ! 

This  Raven,  thy  Spirit,  'mid  storms  and  showers, 

Shall  stand  on  the  crest  of  yon  heaven-curst  towers, 

'Till  Thomond's  last  conflict  for  kingship  be  o'er, 

And  her  sceptre  be  wielded  by  princes  no  more  !" 

Then  the  grim  Raven  groan'd,  like  a  demon  in  pain, 
And  soar'd,  to  the  towers,  o'er  the  snow-covered  plain ; 
The  night  seemed  to  gather  its  clouds  on  his  track, 
'Till  the  white  face  of  winter  with  horror  grew  black — 
The  dreary  corpse  sank  to  its  mouldering  repose, 
While  o'er  it  the  lid  and  the  gloomy  pall  rose  ; 
And  the  dread  spectral-figures  grew  dim,  one  by  one, 
'Till  the  group,  and  the  coffin,  and  death-lights  were  gone. 

The  Earl's  son  knelt  at  the  window,  in  prayer, 
While,  like  reeds  in  the  frost,  stood  the  locks  of  his  hair  ; 
He  heard  not  the  bolts  of  his  strong  prison-door 
Drawn  back,  nor  the  light  foot  that  moved  on  the  floor, 

assistance  to  reinstate  Brian  in  the  sovereignty  of  Thomond,  and  Brian,  in 
consideration  thereof,  by  a  solemn  deed  conveyed  to  the  Norman  chief  and 
his  heirs  for  ever  the  "barony  of  Lower  Bunratty.  De  Clare  at  once  pro- 
ceeded into  Thomond,  and  to  secure  his  new  possessions,  "built  Bunratty 
Castle,  a.  d.  1268.  Torlogh  being  in  turn  deposed,  through  the  interference 
of  De  Clare,  applied  to  his  friends,  the  Connaught  chieftains,  who  collected 
their  forces  at  his  call,  and  gave  Brian  Roe  and  his  Norman  allies  battle  and 
defeated  them.  On  the  arrival  of  the  vanquished  leaders  at  Bunratty,  the 
•wife  and  father-in-law  of  De  Clare,  incensed  at  the  loss  they  had  sustained, 
laid  the  blame  on  Brian,  and  insisted  on  putting  him  to  death,  "And  so," 
say  the  annalists,  "after  they  swearing  all  the  oaths  in  Munster,  as  bells 
relics  of  saints  and  croisers,  to  be  true  to  each  other  for  ever,  also  after  they 
became  sworn  gossips,  and  for  confirmation  of  their  indissoluble  bond  of 
perpetual  friendship,  they  drew  part  of  the  blood  of  each  other  which  they 
put  in  a  vessel  and  mingled  it  together ;  yet  after  all  these  solemn  protes- 
tations they  seized  Brian  Roe  and  bound  him  to  stern  steeds  and  thereby  had 
him  torn  asunder." — Memoir  of  the  0 'Briens. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND.  285 

'Till  a  touch  on  his  shoulder — a  breath  on  his  ear — 
Assured  him  some  pitying  mortal  was  near ; 
He  turn'd,  and  before  him,  imperiously  there 
Stood  the  queen  of  the  Castle,  proud  Lady  De  Clare.* 

'  Lord  William  De  Burgo  !"  the  lady  begun, 
"  Thy  fate  is  assign'd  and  thy  sentence  is  done  ! 
But  I  came  here,  in  darkness  and  danger  to  save 
Thy  neck  from  the  rope,  and  thy  youth  from  the  grave  ! 
I  saw,  in  a  dream,  Spirits  standing  in  snow, 
Round  the  coffin  and  corpse  of  the  murder'd  Brian  Roe  ; 
They  told  me  to  save  thee — with  fear,  I  obey, 
Haste — our  lives  are  at  stake  on  the  slightest  delay  I" 

His  limbs  from  the  brown  iron  fetters  she  freed — 
From  the  horrible  dungeon  they  hastened,  with  speed  ; 
Thro'  the  dread  Castle  arches  they  glided,  like  ghosts, 
While  the  drunken  guards  lay  fast  asleep  at  their  posts. 
To  the  courtyard  they  passed  thro'  a  stone  corridor, 
And  the  brave  captive  felt  a  glad  freeman  once  more  ; 
Tho'  the  night  was  dark,  desolate,  dreary,  and  dim, 
'Twas  as  bright  as  the  hour  of  salvation  to  him. 

Chill  shiver'd  the  woods,  and  the  sky  overhead 
Look'd  dismal  and  drear  as  the  face  of  the  dead  ; 
And  the  north  star's  cold,  wintry  shimmer  fell  weak 
On  the  lady's  pale  robe  and  her  marble-white  cheek. 
Like  some  beautiful  Spirit,  half  darkness  and  light, 
She  stood  'mid  the  deep  raven-foldings  of  night ; 
But  a  stern  blaze  of  soul  in  her  dignified  glance, 
Shot  keen  from  her  eye,  like  a  fire-flashing  lance. 

With  stolen  side-glances  the  warrior  scann'd 

Her  bosom,  and  brow,  her  slight  foot  and  white  hand, 

While  his  thoughts  to  each  other  admiringly  cried — 

"  She  was  moulded  and  made  for  a  war-victor's  bride  !" 

But  she,  as  if  reading  the  scroll  which  the  pen 

Of  his  mental  reflection  was  writing  within, 

Waved  her  hand  towards  the  fosse,  and  said  proudly,  "Young 

Chief!  F  " 

O'er  yon  deep,  frozen  moat  thy  sure  passage  is  safe  l" 

He  seized  her  pale  hand — press'd  his  lips  to  its  snow, 
And  murmurd  his  thanks  ere  he  turned  to  go  ; 
Then  wrapping  his  cochal  his  person  around, 
O'er  the  courtyard  enclosure  he  flew,  with  a  bound. 

*  This  stern  lady  was  Juliana  Fitzgerald,  daughter  to  the  Earl  of  Desmond. 
It  was- she  that  instigated  the  sentence  by  which  her  sworn  gossip,  Brian 
Roe,  met  so  barbarous  a  death.  Another  poem  in  this  volume  gives  a  lull 
description  of  the  circumstances  of  his  brutal  execution. 


286  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Hoarse-crackled  the  ice  of  the  moat  to  his  tread, 
And  off  thro'  the  awful  snow-desert  he  sped  ; 
'Till  the  flame-circled  sun  of  mid-heaven,  next  day, 
Saw  him  greeted  by  friends  in  the  towers  of  Loch  ReaJ 


THE  PATRIOT  MAIDEN. 

An  Irish  girl  in  heart  and  soul ! 

I  love  the  dear  old  land  ! 
I  honour  those  who  in  her  cause 

Lift  voice,  or  pen,  or  hand — 
And  may  I  live  to  see  her  free 

From  foreign  lord  and  knave ! 
But  heaven  forbid  I'd  ever  be 

The  mother  of  a  slave  ! 

God  bless  the  men  who  take  their  stand 

In  Ireland's  patriot-host ! 
I'd  give  the  youth  my  heart  and  hand, 

Who  serves  his  country  most ; 
And  if  he  fell,  I'd  rather  lie 

Beside  him  in  the  grave, 
Than  wed  a  wealthy  loon,  and  be 

The  mother  of  a  slave ! 

Thro'  many  a  blood-red  age  of  woe 

Our  Nation's  heart  has  bled , 
But  still  she  makes  her  tyrants  know 

Her  spirit  is  not  dead ! 
God  bless  the  men  who  for  her  sake 

Their  life  and  genius  gave — 
God  bless  the  mothers  of  those  sons  ! 

They  nurst  no  dastard  slave ! 

Some  on  the  scaffold-place  of  doom, 

For  loving  Ireland  died, 
And  others  to  the  dungeon-gloom, 

Are  torn  from  our  side  ; 
But  God  the  Just,  who  ne'er  design'd 

His  image  for  a  slave, 
Will  give  our  country  might  and  mind, 

And  raise  the  true  and  brave ! 

Ye  beauteous  daughters  of  our  Isle, 
Whom  heaven  with  virtue  blest ! 

How  can  you  on  a  helot  smile, 
Or  clasp  him  to  your  breast  ? 

+  The  castle  of  Loch  Ilea  was  one  of  the  seats  of  the  powerful  family  of 
the  De  Burgos.  Those  brave  descendants  of  William  FitzAdelm  were 
another  of  the  Norman  tribes  that  became  more  Irish  than  the  Irish  them- 
wlyefl. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  287 

i 

If  you  would  teach  those  lessons  grand 

The  Spartan  mothers  gave, 
No  tyrant-brood  would  curse  the  land, 

And  you  would  nurse  no  slave ! 

The  sun  is  sinking  to  the  sea — 

God  bless  the  glorious  West, 
Where  exiled  Irishmen  are  free, 

And  no  one  is  oppress' d ! 
Come,  sisters,  toast  that  land,  with  me, 

Beyond  the  world  of  waves  ! 
The  golden  land  of  liberty, 

Where  mothers  nurse  no  slaves  ! 


TIPPERARY,  MY  HOME. 

Air. — "  Ca?°olan,s  Farewell  to  Killarney." 

Oh  !  there  is  not  a  spot  in  the  land  of  the  Gael, 

Where  my  young  heart  the  full  swing  of  pleasure  could  feel — 

Oh  !  there  is  not  a  place  under  heaven's  crystal  dome, 

So  sweet  to  my  soul  as  Tipperary,  my  home ! 

Tipperary !  Tipperary !  though  lovely  thou  art — 
Tho'  thy  beauty  in  sunshine  is  set  in  my  heart — 
Ear  away  from  thy  vales  the  wide  world  must  I  roam, 
But  I'll  never  forget  thee,  Tipperary,  my  home  ! 

Tho'  my  cabin  was  poor,  my  affection  was  there, 
Eor  'twas  dearer  ten  times  than  a  palace  elsewhere, 
But  the  agent  unroof 'd  its  four  bare  walls  of  clay, 
And  turned  me,  a  sad,  homeless  outcast,  away ! 

Oh !  sweet  was  the  dream  of  my  young  boyhood's  hours, 
When  the  summer-fields  round  me  were  radiant  with  flowers, 
And  little  I  thought  that,  in  manhood's  first  bloom, 
I  should  wander,  in  grief,  from  Tipperary,  my  home  ! 

The  dear  ones  that  loved  me  are  laid  in  the  earth, 
Still  I  meet  them,  in  dreams,  at  my  old  cottage-hearth ! 
And  round  me  each  face  bright  with  kindness  appears, 
'Till  I  wake,  with  my  dreaming  heart  melted  to  tears  ! 

Accurst  be  the  dark  fate  that  bade  me  depart, 
From  the  friends  of  my  love  and  the  land  of  my  heart ! 
But  oft  shall  my  memory  in  sweet  visions  come, 
On  the  wings  of  delight,  to  Tipperary,  my  home ! 

There  the  spirit  of  Freedom  still  lives  undefiled, 
'Mid  the  valleys  so  green,  and  the  mountains  so  wild  ; 
And  the  chain  of  the  spoiler  has  never  found  room 
On  the  necks  of  thy  brave  sons,  Tipperary,  my  home ! 


288  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

May  the  bright  soul  of  love  in  thy  homesteads  find  rest 
And  thy  hot  blood  of  valour  long  burn  in  thy  breast ! 
May  beauty,  in  all  her  young  sweetness  and  bloom, 
With  her  angel-smile  bless  thee,  Tipperary,  my  home ! 

Adieu !  to  thy  wild  hills  all  clothed  in  green, 

And  the  vales  where  the  steps  of  my  childhood  have  been! 

0  God  !  grant  my  prayer,  ere  I  sink  to  the  tomb, 

Let  me  breathe  my  last  sigh  in  Tipperary,  my  home ! 


SARSFIELD'S  FAREWELL  TO  LIMERICK. 

City  of  battles !  like  a  war-king's  bride, 

Seated  majestic  on  thine  island- throne  ! 
Smiling  in  beauty,  with  the  crystal  tide 

Sparkling  around  thee,  like  a  diamond-zone  ! 
The  cloud  of  fight  has  vanished  from  thy  brow — 

Low  is  the  spirit  of  thy  glory  laid — 
And,  with  a  weeping  soul,  I  leave  thee  now, 

Disarm'd,  deceiv'd,  abandon'd,  and  betray'd  ! 

For  thee  we  battled  more  like  gods  than  men — 

In  vain  the  foemen's  burning  metal  flamed — 
Amid  the  crash  of  falling  towers,  and  din 

Of  charging  hosts,  thy  spirit  was  untamed  ! 
Back  from  thy  ramparts  roll'd  the  baffled  bands, 

Powerless  and  broken  as  a  rock-cleft  wave  ; 
Yet  a  few  words  resign'd  into  their  hands 

What  all  their  armies  never  could  achieve ! 

Thy  star  is  quench'd  in  perfidy  and  blood- 
Vainly  for  thee  has  valour  bled  and  died ; 

When  thy  brave  sons  and  glorious  daughters  stood, 
Fearless  as  towers  of  iron,  at  thy  side  ! 

'Till  the  tired  foemen,  sick  of  bloody  toil, 
Fawn'd  when  their  fury  could  no  more  destroy, 

And,  with  the  tempting  serpent's  treacherous  guile, 
They  enter'd,  as  the  Grecians  enter'd  Troy ! 

Farewell !  to  thy  old  hospitable  halls, 

And  veteran  ramparts  now  no  longer  ours ! 
Farewell  to  thy  invulnerable  walls — 

Thy  festive  palaces  and  lordly  towers  ! 
Farewell !  to  thy  all-beauteous,  bright-eyed  maids, 

Whose  deeds  shall  long  be  honour 'd  and  admired— 
The  stranger  now  may  revel  in  thy  shades, 

Where  Freedom,  in  her  last  retreat,  expired ! 

Far  o'er  the  heavings  0/  the  angry  deep, 
I'll  meet  thy  foes  upon  another  shore  ! 

My  sword  shall  yet  a  vengeful  harvest  reap, 
For  Sarsfield's  last  brave  battle  is  not  o'er ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  289 

Limerick !  one  grateful  boon  from  thee  I  claim — 
Whatever  fate  holds  bright  or  dark  for  me — 

That  thgu  wilt  cherish  faithful  Sarsfield's  name, 
And  love  his  memory  as  he  loved  thee  ! 


THE  WARRIOR-EXILES. 

A   LEGEND   OF  THE   CLAN   MACLNNERNY.* 

Lord  Clare  to  the  battles  of  France  has  departed, 
And  Thomond  of  half  her  brave  youth  is  deserted  , 
For  the  "  Flight  of  the  Wild  Geese  "  the  heroes  have  join'd, 
And  mothers  and  maids  are  left  weeping  behind. 
But  of  all  the  bold  soldiers  who  follow'd  Lord  Clare, 
The  fiercest  the  stoutest,  and  hardiest  were 
Twenty  tall  youths — eagle-nerved,  lion-framed — 
Of  the  Clan  Maclnnerny,  long  honour'd  and  famed. 

Their  freedom  was  quench'd — their  possessions  were  gone, 
But  their  necks  were  too  proud  for  a  chain  to  rest  on  ; 
So  each  freeborn  warrior  grasp'd  his  good  sword, 
And  join'd  the  Dragoons  of  the  Dalcassian  lord — 
And  sorely  they  made  the  grim  Sassenach  feel 
The  fire  of  their  wrath  and  the  strength  of  their  steel, 
For  wherever  the  battle  was  led  by  Lord  Clare, 
The  brave  Maclnnernys  wrought  fierce  havoc  there. 

At  Vittoria  their  swords  thro'  the  cavalry  slash'd — 
At  Cassano  their  might  thro'  the  infantry  dash'd — 
At  Luzzara  their  actions  with  glory  were  crown'd — 
At  Hochstat  and  Spires  their  names  were  renown'd — 
Ever  first  in  the  mad  charge  and  last  in  retreat, 
With  the  sheen  of  their  laurels  unstained  by  defeat ; 
Oh !  ne'er  did  the  flame  of  their  valour  cool  down, 
At  breaking  an  army  or  taking  a  town. 

On  the  red  plain  of  Ramillies  the  Frenchmen  gave  way, 
But  Clare's  brave  Dragoons  kept  their  granite-array, 
And  blazed  on  the  terrified  Sassenach  lines, 
Like  a  lava-flood  rolling  thro'  forests  of  pines  ; 
Thro'  the  van  of  the  conquering  allies  they  burst, 
And  the  men  of  the  Clan  Maclnnerny  were  first ; 
'Mid  a  whirlwind  of  swords  and  a  fire-shower  of  shot, 
Surrounded,  assaulted  by  thousands,  they  fought. 

•  Mohane  Castle  was  built,  in  1610,  by  Donogh  Maclnnerny,  one  of  the 
chiefs  of  this  once  warlike  branch  of  the  Dalgais.  It  stands  on  the  Dro- 
moland  Estate,  and  is  yet  nearly  entire,  being  well  protected  and  kept 
in  repair  by  Lord  Inchiquin. 

A  great  number  of  this  clan  followed  the  fortunes  of  Lord  Clare  to  the 
continental  battles  of  France,  and  never  returned. 


290  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  tall  banner'd  columns  were  shaken  and  rent, 

Like  rustling  wheat-ridges  by  sudden  gales  bent ; 

Still  onward  they  clove  their  dread  way  thro'  the  bands, 

Till  their  broad  swords  seem'd  melted  to    blood    in  their 

hands — 
The  war-flood  closed  in,  like  a  tide  round  a  stone — 
Cut  off  from  their  comrades  they  struggled  alone  ; 
Back  to  back,  'mid  that  death-blazing  furnace  of  gore, 
They  battled  with  legions,  behind  and  before. 

And  ramparted  round  was  the  spot  where  they  stood, 
With  a  tower  of  dead  bodies  cemented  with  blood ; 
While,  like  ships  to  the  throat  of  a  black  maelstrom  hurl'd, 
New  victims  are  into  that  carnage-gulf  whirl'd. 
Their  war-steeds  are  wounded,  mad-plunging  they  fall, 
'Mid  the  blood-wave,  and  flame-flash  of  sabre  and  ball ; 
And  the  twenty  bold  men  in  the  death-circle  stand, 
Like  tigers  in  fight,  each  opposed  to  a  band. 

With  cool  desperation  their  fate  they  endure, 

Retreat  is  all  hopeless — destruction  is  sure ; 

And  each  seems  resolved,  ere  his  life-current  goes, 

To  build  him  a  tomb  of  the  corpses  of  foes. 

But  the  tempest  must  tire  in  its  wood-tearing  flight, 

And  the  raging  waves  faint  in  their  rock-beating  might ; 

And  the  wrath  of  a  fire,  that  a  city  devour'd, 

Must  sink  gasping,  at  last,  'mid  the  ruins,  o'erpower'd. 

Thus  sank  in  the  slaughter- surge,  man  after  man, 

Of  the  noble,  magnanimous,  time-honour'd  clan,  * 

That  for  ages,  in  Thomond,  high  lordly  sway  held, 

And  gave  saints  to  the  Church  and  brave  chiefs  to  the  field — 

Tho'  their  souls  seem'd  to  go  and  return  in  their  breath, 

They  struggled  to  strike,  in  the  gaspings  of  death  ; 

And  each  man  fell — still  clutching  the  hilt  of  his  blade — 

On  the  red  carnage-pile  which  his  vengeance  had  made. 

One  hero  alone  of  the  twenty  survives — 

And,  as  heaven's  fire-bolt  thro'  a  winter-wood  drives — 

He  tore  from  the  grasp  of  the  enemy's  r^and 

The  ensign  of  glory,  and  dash'd  thro'  the  band. 

Like  fern  in  the  track  of  the  fleet-footed  roe, 

Spears,  bayonets,  and  sabres  he  flung  to  and  fro, 

As  he  burst  from  the  wave  of  that  gore -streaming  gulf, 

With  the  spring  of  a  bloodhound  and  fang  of  a  wolf. 

"  The  Clan-an-Oirchinneagh  (MacTnnernys)  were  once  powerful  and 
independent  in  Thomond.  According  to  tradition,  their  progenitor  was 
Guardian  or  Protecting  Chief  to  one  of  the  ancient  Kings  of  Ireland,  and 
was  presented  by  the  monarch  with  a  suit  of  golden  armour  as  a  mark  of 
honour  and  distinction  paid  to  his  valour."—  Mr.  O'Looney's  MS.  Traditions 
of  the  Clan-an-Oirchinneugh. 

All    Lord   Clare's   vast  property  in  Thomond,   amounting   to     sixty 
thousand  acres,  was  confiscated. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  291 

To  the  line  of  his  comrades  the  warrior  retired, 

Threw  the  banner  before  him — dropp'd  down  and  expired; 

For  his  spirit  out-grew  its  dominion  of  clay, 

And  burst  in  the  strength  of  its  frenzy  away. 

As  the  fire-mountain  heaves  the  red  angel  of  flame, 

In  a  cloud-scorching  gush,  from  its  volcanic  frame, 

So  that  soul  from  its  toil-shatter'd  prison  took  wing, 

To  the  source  of  its  life,  with  a  lightning-like  spring. 

Say,  Muse,  wrhat  sweet  harp  gave  their  glory  a  name, 
And,  with  song,  lent  a  soul  to  the  deeds  of  their  fame  ? 
'Twas  the  harp  of  MacCurtin,  the  bard  of  the  free, 
And  the  fire  of  his  spirit  descended  to  me  ! 
He  had  heroes  to  listen — alas !  I  have  none, 
But  the  green,  silent  woods  and  the  wild  hills  alone, 
While  my  soul,  with  the  sickness  of  grief  round  her  cast, 
From  the  Present  flies  back  to  seek  health  in  the  Past ! 


LAMENT  OF  THE  SHANNON. 

On  Shannon's  misty  moonlight  banks, 

I  wander'd,  one  calm  night,  alone  ; — 
The  waves  in  council  seem'd  to  speak 

About  a  storm  that  late  had  blown 
The  foamy  silver  from  their  crests, 

Round  morass-sedge  and  reedy  drain ; 
And  each  seem'd  calling  to  the  shore 

To  give  it  back  its  plume  again. 

Sad  as  a  suffering  Spirit's  moan, 

The  low  wind  sigh'd  among  the  reeds — 
The  shadows  of  the  passing  clouds 

Sail'd  o'er  the  marsh,  like  phantom-steeds, 
When  striding  towards  the  moonlit  strand, 

From  the  blue  centre  of  the  stream, 
A  giant-shape,  dark,  grim  and  grand, 

Silent  and  sage,  before  me  came ! 

Adown  his  azure  shoulders  flow'd 

A  sea-robe,  woven  of  oozy  weeds  ; 
Dank  water-moss  hung  round  his  brow, 

Which  look'd  all  rough  with  shelly  seeds ; 
His  eyes  were  like  two  melting  pearls, 

Or  silver  balls  in  wells  of  flame,. 
And  his  blue,  solemn,  dreary  face 

Was  like  a  sleeping  midnight-stream. 

"  My  son  "  he  said,   "  be  not  afraid, 

I  am  the  Genius  of  this  tide  ! 
And  often,  on  my  summer-banks, 

I  heard  thy  swelling  strains,  with  pride  ! 


292  LAYS   AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Now  from  my  weedy  palace-caves 

I  came  to  tell  a  tale  of  wrong  , 
And  thou  shalt  hear  it  in  thy  soul, 

And  breathe  it  into  burning  song ! 

"  Since  first  my  mountain-born  waves 

Their  shining  ocean-march  began 
Thro'  this  misfortune-darken'd  land, 

That's  blest  by  God,  but  curst  by  man — 
Many  a  black  and  bitter  age 

Of  shame,  and  blood,  and  grief,  I  saw, 
In  Erin  of  the  saints  and  kings, 

Where  wrong  is  justified  by  law  ! 

"  A  part  of  his  Almighty  power, 

To  profit  man,  God  lent  my  tide ; 
And  here,  along  my  winding  shore 

Millions  of  souls  might  be  employ'd  ! 
From  year  to  year  my  mighty  flood 

To  ocean's  caves  is  idly  hurl'd, 
Whose  strength  w^ould  give  an  active  soul 

To  the  trade-engines  of  the  world  ! 
"  The  sordid  few  whose  barren  gold, 

Could  thus  a  nation's  hands  employ, 
Like  greedy  otters  watch,  and  war, 

About  my  fish  and  timid  fry  ! 
The  cormorants  that  haunt  my  flood, 

Are  less  voracious  for  their  prey, 
Than  those  insatiate  human-sharks 

That  watch  my  current,  night  and  day  ! 
*  From  court  to  court  my  name  is  dragg'd, 

As  if  I  were  a  felon  base  ; 
My  strands  survey' d — my  bounds  explored — 

With  spies  around  in  every  place  ! 
Would !  that  the  burning  beam  of  heaven 

Had  scorch'd  my  shores  and  drunk  my  waves, 
Ere  I  had  fallen  in  the  hands 

Of  such  remorseless,  legal  knaves ! 

* '  God  stored  my  stream  with  finny  wealth, 

And  boundless  is  his  bounty  there — 
From  year  to  year  'tis  well  supplied, 

For  all  his  poor  to  have  a  share ! 
But  proud  monopolists  now  claim, 

And  covet  this  great  public  right, 
And  use  a  ruthless  robber-law 

To  sanctify  their  lawless  might ! 

* '  My  curdy  salmon,  trout,  and  peal, 
These  human  otters  grasp  them  all, 

While,  with  their  prying  eyes  of  cranes, 
Their  flunkies  watch  from  Fall  to  Fall ; 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  293 

And  yonder  live  their  water-hounds — 
With  monster  fish-traps  at  their  door — 

Wretches  who  fatten  on  the  wrongs, 
And  persecutions  of  God's  poor  ! 

"  No  fisherman  dares  throw  a  line, 

For  sport  or  profit,  in  my  stream, 
Else  hard  imprisonment  or  fine 

Would  follow  fast  his  angling  game. 
And  even  thou,  my  favourite  bard  ! — 

That  sang  the  glories  of  my  tide  : 
With  rod  in  hand,  and  cheerful  lay — 

I  miss  thee  from  my  flowery  side  ! 

And  must  those  men,  of  worthless  name, 

Dominion  o'er  my  waters  claim, 
And  revel  on  the  finny  spoils 

They  gather  from  my  plunder'd  stream  ? 
With  countless  thousands,  pile  on  pile, 

Their  selfish  souls  were  not  content, 
Until  they  grasp' d  those  river-gifts, 

Which  God  to  his  poor  children  sent ! 

There  is  no  justice  in  the  land 

Where  law  such  evil  work  can  do, 
The  right  of  thousands  to  convey 

Unto  the  greedy-grasping  few  ! 
But  God  permits  the  weak  a  time, 

Thus  to  be  trampled  by  the  strong  ; 
Yet  He  has  iron  limits  fixed 

To  every  course  of  human  wrong!" 

He  ceased — the  moonlight  waves  uprose, 

And  lock'd  him  in  their  blue  embrace ; 
And  round  his  sinking,  head,  awhile, 

Play'd,  in  pale  rings,  then  slept  in  peace — 
While  calmly,  o'er  his  oozy  hall, 

The  night-stars'  tiny  lustre  burn'd, 
As  if  to  light  the  gloomy  depth 

To  which  the  River-King  return'd. 


THE  DEATH  OF  KING  BRIAN. 
a.d.  1014. 

At  day-dawn  the  battle  of  giants  began,* 

And  the  red  rills  of  life  to  the  reeking  brine  ran, 

While  the  blows,  like  the  crashing  of  hugh  millstones,  fell 

On  the  broad  iron  shields  and  the  jackets  of  steel, 

*"  In  this  terrific  contest  fell  fourteen  thousand  Danes,  together  with 
nine  thousand  of  their  Irish  Legenian  allies,  and  more  than  ten  thousand  of 
Brian's  national  army  ;  it  was  during  the  time  of  the  flight  the  greatest 
carnage  took  place."— Norse  Account. 


294  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  host  consumed  host,  as  a  volcanic  fire 
Heaves  down  the  hill-rocks  in  its  flame-belching  ire  ; 
And  chief  against  chief,  with  a  demon-roar  sprung, 
Like  rough  granite- cliffs  from  their  ocean-thrones  flung. 

But  of  all  the  Norse-giants,  in  stature,  far  higher, 

And  stronger,  was  Brodar  the  legion-destroyer ; 

His  long,  shining  hair  to  his  girdle  was  bound, 

And  he  look'd  like  a  turret  steel-plated  around ; 

O'er  his  war-darkened  brow  his  huge  helmet's  gold  cone, 

Like  a  red  midnight-flash  on  the  mountain-top,  shone ; 

And  his  eyes  seem'd  to  glare  the  destruction  of  men, 

As  if  death-swords  were  shaped  by  grim  fire-fiends  within. 

Thro'  the  iron  battalions  he  thunder'd  amain, 

As  the  wind-spirit  roars  thro'  the  woods  of  the  plain ; 

And,  like  brambles,  the  thickets  of  spears  he  o'erthrew, 

And,  like  vanishing  mist-towers,  the  leaders  he  slew. 

As  sledge-strokes  rebound  from  a  broad,  brazen  bar, 

His  armour  resisted  the  wrath  of  the  war, 

And  his  shield  met  the  blows  as  a  strong  rampart-wall 

Meets  a  whistling  hail-shower  on  the  wing  of  a  squall. 

Against  him  rushed  Ulfus,  gigantic  and  grim, 

Like  a  gleaming  steel-pillar,  in  body  and  limb, 

And  his  axe,  like  a  thunder-bolt  cleaving  an  oak, 

O'erthrew  the  fierce  king  of  the  fleets,  with  a  stroke  ; 

Thrice  Brodar  arose  from  the  gore-flooded  plain, 

And  Ulfus  thrice  struck  the  chief  prostrate  again, 

'Till,  at  length,  from  the  cascade  of  death-blows  and  blood, 

He  flew,  like  a  wolf,  to  the  shades  of  a  wood. 

The  battle-sea  surged,  'till  the  day's  dying  light 
Saw  the  sword-cloven  ranks  of  the  pirates  in  flight, 
While  King  Brian,  at  prayer,  in  his  tent  kneels  alone, 
For  his  guards  in  pursuit  of  the  Northmen  are  gone — 
A  calm,  holy  ray  round  his  brow  seems  to  spring, 
As  he  looks  on  the  cross  of  his  crucified  King  : 
And  never  did  royalty  halo  that  brow 
So  gloriously  grand,  and  sublimely  as  now. 

There's  a  cry  at  the  door — 'tis  the  kind  voice  of  one* 
Whom  he  loved,  as  a  sire  loves  his  first-born  son — 
"  Oh !  Monarch  of  Eire  !  cast  thine  eyes  towards  the  sea, 
And  behold  the  last  terrific  scene  of  the  day  ! 

*  "  This  is  supposed  to  be  his  grandson,  Torlogh,  who,  though  only  fifteen 
years  of  age,  followed  his  father,  Morogh,  through  the  thick  of  the  "battle, 
and,  after  the  flight  of  the  enemy,  was  found  drowned  at  the  Weir  of 
Clontarf,  with  his  hands  entangled  in  the  hair  of  a  Dane's  head.  It  seems 
he  had  grappled  with  the  Dane  and  both  fell  iuto  the  water  where  they 
perished  together." — Annals  of  Munster. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OP  THOMOND.  295 

A  scene  which  a  king  may  behold  with  delight, 
His  Nation  redeem'd  and  his  foemen  in  flight — 
The  sea-waves  seem  dancing  in  blood  round  the  ships, 
Where  the  combat  has  shifted  ts  crimson  eclipse  !" 

Then  the  monarch  looked  down  to  the  rim  of  the  flood, 
Where  the  last  yellow  day-beam  seem'd  quenching  in  blood, 
And  the  battle-din  lifted  its  iron-toned  voice, 
Like  an  avalanche  crushing  an  island  of  ice. 
And  the  whirling  swords  shimmer'd,  like  storm-driven  spray 
Dancing  up  in  a  flame  from  a  lightning- wrapt  sea  ; 
As  the  mad  bands,  in  broken  and  bloody  retreat, 
Disordered  and  desperate,  rolled  on  to  the  fleet. 

And  his  great  spirit,  young  with  the  fame  of  past  fields, 
Seem'd  to  dance  to  the  shrill-ringing  tune  of  the  shields ; 
And  he  wish'd  to  be  there  'mid  the  whirl  and  the  dash 
Of  the  war,  with  its  hurricane-clangor  and  crash — 
The  sun  took  a  last  glowing  peep  at  the  fight, 
And  a  tear  seem'd  to  stand  in  his  red  eye  of  light, 
As  if  looking  his  last  look,  in  glory  and  grief, 
On  the  God-imaged  face  of  the  saintly  King-Chief. 

His  last  battle  is  fought — his  last  victory  is  won, 
And  the  race  of  his  luminous  grandeur  is  run  ; 
•And  his  locks,  like  the  snow-mist  of  wintry  Craiglea, 
Shall  soon  spread  their  diadem'd  curls  on  the  clay. 
The  Oracle  answer'd — "The  Ard  Bigh  shall  fall,* 
And  his  brave  blood  shall  crown  the  destruction  of  all  ! 
And  the  heart-crying  wail  of  his  Nation  shall  ring 
To  the  throne  of  the  Lord  for  the  loss  of  her  king !" 
Still  roar'd  on  the  strand  the  tumultuous  affray, 
And  the  death -clamour  strangled  the  shout  of  the  sea  ; 
And  the  horrified  Norse-women  sprung  from  the  ships  f 
To  the  waves,  with  their  souls  shrieking  out  on  their  lips. 
In  fifties  and  hundreds  the  pirates  were  slain, 
From  the  strand  to  Ath  Cliath  and  gory  Tolcainn  ;  j 
And  far  as  the  vision  could  traverse  the  ground, 
Cloven  trunks  and  hack'd  mail  spread  their  red  banks  around. 
The  grim  Brodar  glared  from  the  hem  of  the  wood, 
And  he  saw  where  unguarded  the  old  monarch  stood  ; 
He  remember'd  the  demon's  dark  prophecy  well, 
And  his  eye-balls  flashed  death,  like  two  meteors  of  hell — 

*  The  chroniclers  of  the  Battle  of  Clontarf  state  that  Brodar,  Com- 
mander-in-chief of  the  Danes,  consulted  an  oracle  about  the  events  of  the 
action,  and  the  answer  was,  that  if  the  fight  took  place  on  Good  Friday,  King 
Brian  would  surely  fall.  Brodar  was  a  man  of  great  strength  and  stature ; 
he  was  remarkable  for  his  practice  of  magic,  and  the  length  of  his  yellow 
hair,  which  he  fastened  to  his  girdle.  It  was  believed  that  his  armour  was 
proof  against  the  weapons  of  his  enemies. 

+  So  sure  were  the  Danes  of  the  conquest  of  Ireland,  that  they  brought 
numbers  of  their  women  with  them  ;  but  these,  at  the  time  of  the  rout, 
threw  themselves,  with  terror,  from  the  ships  into  the  sea,  where  they 
perished. 

$  The  Tolka  river,  near  Dublin. 


296  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Striding  out  on  the  plain,  towards  the  rich-silken  tent, 

Like  a  plague-spirit,  grimly  and  grisly  he  went ; 

Five  straggling  fugitives  stalk'd  at  his  back, 

Moving  onward,  like  ravenous  sharks  to  a  wreck. 

Then  the  Spirit  of  Eire,  like  the  glory  of  day, 

Came  up  from  the  mist  of  the  blue  twilight-sea  ; 

And  a  rainbow-hued  splendour  around  her  was  drawn, 

Like  the  rose- veil  that  hangs  o'er  the  brow  of  the  dawn. 

But  her  face,  as  she  moved  thro'  the  haze  of  the  plain, 

As  a  beauteous  eve-cloud,  seem'd  to  melt  into  rain — 

On  a  grassy  slope,  rich  with  the  new  tinge  of  Spring, 

She  stood — but  unseen — near  the  tent  of  her  king. 

And  Oebhinn*  the  sad,  came  and  sat  at  her  feet, 

With  the  stain  of  fresh  tears  on  her  white-winding  sheet ; 

Her  bony  hands  lock'd  o'er  her  knees  lay  at  rest, 

As  if  strangling  each  low  sob  that  rose  from  her  breast ; 

And  her  eyes,  round  whose  weird  orbs  a  red  circle  burn'd, 

From  the  king  to  the  coming  assassins  were  turn'd, 

While  often,  her  grief -bedimm'd  vision  to  clear, 

Her  pale  hand  was  lifted  to  banish  the  tear. 

But  Eire,  looking  up  to  the  red  gates  of  even, 

Fixed  her  glory -lit  eyes  on  the  glory  of  heaven, 

And  her  soul-cleaving  agony  burst  into  words, 

For  the  king  of  her  kings  and  the  lord  of  her  lords. 

"  Seven  thousand  brave  lives  have  been  wasted  for  me, 

Since  the  flame-footed  morn  danced  over  yon  sea  ! 

But,  oh  !  God  of  the  mighty  !  has  fate  darkly  will'd 

That  my  highest  and  grandest  one's  blood  must  be  spill'd  ? 

His  reign  was  a  shadow  that  fell  from  Thy  hand, 

Shedding  love,  light,  and  joy  thro'  the  breadth  of  my  land  ; 

Fanes  and  altars  he  raised  to  Thy  high,  holy  name, 

And  purged  from  Thy  people  the  weeds  of  their  shame  ! 

But  shall  the  great  work  of  the  glory  he  plann'd, 

Depart,  like  a  dream-image  traced  upon  sand  ? 

And  leave  me,  amidst  the  bright  conquests  he  won, 

Like  a  well-fruited  garden  deprived  of  the  sun  ? 

Farewell !  my  defender,  my  guardian,  my  all ! 

I  cannot  here  linger  to  witness  thy  fall ! 

My  tears  and  entreaties,  with  fate,  are  in  vain, 

While,  for  empires,  thou  would'st  not  fly  from  the  plain ! 

To  me  were  thy  planet-like  splendour  and  might, 

As  to  earth  are  the  use  and  the  beauty  of  light ; 

'Till  the  chalice  of  brightness  I  drank  from  thy  hand, 

Steep'd  my  soul  in  a  long  dream  of  majesty  grand ! 

♦  See  pages  41  and  103. 

The  annalists  say  that  the  Northmen  were  pursued  in  all  directions,  in 
twenties,  in  fifties,  and  in  hundreds,  and  slaughtered  without  quarter  by 
their  avenging  pursuers.  "When  Brian's  guard  returned,  after  the  pursuit, 
and  found  their  monarch  dead,  they  hewed  the  bodies  of  the  assassins  into 
pieces. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  297 

The  last  reaping  day  of  thy  harvest  is  o'er, 

And  the  cup  of  thy  glory  can't  hold  a  drop  more ! 

Thou'lt  sink  to  the  dust,  like  a  flame-cloven  tower, 

And  with  thee  I'll  lose  all  my  greatness  and  power  ! 

For  the  light  of  my  crown  shall  be  taken  away, 

And  my  doom  shall  be  dark  as  the  caves  of  the  sea — 

My  people  shall  bleed  in  a  foreigner's  thrall, 

And  their  bread  and  their  drink  shall  be  ashes  and  gall  ! 

She  sigh'd,  and  her  mild  eyes  seemed  freezing  to  stone, 
As  if  her  great  spirit  had  died  in  a  groan  ; 
And  she  melted  away,  like  a  heavenly  beam 
Which  the  soul  of  a  mourner  beholds  in  a  dream — 
Still  Oebhinn,  the  Banshee,  sat  weeping  behind, 
And  her  murmur  of  dole  whisper'd  death  in  the  wind, 
As  near  the  rich  silk-cover'd  tent  of  the  King, 
Came  the  Lord  of  the  Danes,  with  a  tiger-like  spring. 

But  Eire's  white-hair'd  ruler  stood  arm'd  for  the  fight — 
Fast-grasping  his  shield-cleaving  war-axe  of  might, 
While  his  soul  shot  in  flame  thro'  each  muscle  and  vein, 
And  thaw'd  from  each  limb  age's  stiff  icy  chain. 
Like  the  Angel  of  Death  looking  down  from  the  sky, 
His  fire-armed  spirit  shot  sparks  from  his  eye, 
As  he  stood,  with  dread  majesty  lifting  his  form, 
Like  an  insulted  god  personating  a  storm. 

Even  tall  Brodar  paused,  with  that  fate-telling  fear 
Which  warns  the  soul  when  sure  danger  is  near, 
And  his  heart,  by  the  terrible  King,  awe-inspired, 
From  his  blood-longing  purpose,  a  moment,  retired. 
Brian's  eye,  like  a  red-scathing  lightning-brand,  fell 
On  the  sea-giant's  ponderous  garment  of  steel, 
But  discern  d  no  part  where  his  axe  may  wound  free, 
Except  where  the  solid  plates  met  at  his  knee. 

With  vigour  unswerving,  the  broad  war-axe  flew, 
Bone,  sinew,  and  steel  plates  dividing  in  two  ; 
The  right  leg  is  lopp'd,  like  a  bough,  from  his  knee, 
And  the  left  from  the  ancle  is  sever'd  as  free — 
He  fell,  like  a  tower,  and  his  heavy  mail  rung, 
Like  a  strong  city  gate  from  its  lofty  piers  flung, 
While,  well-aim'd  and  rapid,  a  second  blow  sped, 
And  swept  from  his  shoulders  his  iron-cased  head. 

But  the  stragglers  who  followed  the  chief  from  the  wood — 
With  a  yell  of  revenge  for  their  pirate-king's  blood — 
Surrounded  the  Ard  Righ,  and  struck  at  his  form, 
Yet,  cautious,  avoided  the  sweep  of  his  arm, 
'Till  one  stole  behind  his  illustrious  foe, 
And  shattered  his  head,  with  a  life-drinking  blow  : 
The  bleeding  king  shiver'd  and  stagger  d  aside, 
Grasp'd  his  slayer  and  slew  him — then  fell  down,  and  died. 
20 


298  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

One  shriek  of  the  Banshee  was  heard  on  the  blast, 
And  away  thro'  the  blue-dusky  twilight  she  past 
To  her  home  on  Craiglea's  rocky  heath-circled  height, 
Where  her  long,  solemn  wail  'woke  the  echoes  all  night. 
The  harpstrings,  untouched  by  a  mortal  hand,  gave 
Low  hollow-toned  notes,  like  ghost-sighs  from  the  grave, 
Where  in  the  mute  hall  of  Kinkora  they  hung, 
'Till  their  king-master's  glorious  return,  unstrung. 

But  they  seem'd  to  each  other  to  speak  of  his  death, 
As  if  prophecy's  spirit  inspired  them  with  breath : 
The  startled  bards  heard  the  weird  omen  of  woe, 
And  they  knew  that  the  king  of  their  songs  was  laid  low. 
Fast,  fast,  thro'  the  Island  the  wild  tidings  spread — 
"King  Brian — the  mighty  King  Brian — is  dead  !"* 
All  is  mourning,  and  wailing,  and  sorrow,  and  gloom, 
As  if  the  Last  Day,  in  its  terrors,  had  come  ! 


THE  MAIDEN'S  DREAM. 

The  month  of  flowers  is  come, 

And  the  pearly  blossoms  glow 
On  the  hawtree's  scented  arms, 

Like  a  shower  of  sunny  snow, 
And  the  daisies,  in  the  mead, 

Are  like  glistening  foam-flecks  seen, 
In  the  glory  of  the  sunbeams, 

On  a  sleeping  sea  of  green. 

From  the  mossy-vernal  bank, 

The  coy  primrose  glances  up, 
With  a  rainbow-gem  of  light 

Sparkling  in  its  yellow  cup, 
While  the  honey-bee  floats  in 

To  its  dewy-couch  of  rest, 
To  take  a  fragrant  drink 

From  its  glowing  golden  breast. 

I  am  sitting  all  alone, 

In  the  dreamy  summer's  sun, 
On  the  fairy-haunted  bank 

Of  the  shadowy  Avondoun, 
But  there's  winter  in  my  heart, 

For  my  blossom  's  far  away, 
And  my  soul  can  drink  no  joy 

From  the  flowery  smile  of  May  ! 

*  When  the  fall  of  Brian,  Morogh,  Torlogh,  Conning,  Kian,  and  other 
great  Chiefs  became  known  to  the  country,  the  demonstrations  of  the 
people's  sorrow  Were  intense,  so  loved  were  those  warriors  for  their  manly 
virtues  and  their  large-hearted  munificence. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.         299 

Little  river  ! — stealing  down 

From  thy  mountain  sister-rills — 
Wildly  singing  your  "Farewell /" 

To  the  glory  of  the  hills — 
I  am  dreaming  of  the  days, 

And  the  fairy  moonlight-eves, 
When  his  young  heart  danced,  with  mine, 

To  the  crooning  of  thy  waves ! 

The  sun-kiss'd  flowers  that  laugh, 

On  yon  blossom-crested  bough, 
Remind  me  of  the  beauty 

And  the  brightness  of  his  brow, 
When  his  soul  in  loving  glances 

On  my  joyful  bosom  fell, 
Like  the  gentle  ray  of  sunrise 

On  the  virgin  primrose-bell ! 

The  brown-plumed  falcon  perch'd 

On  the  castle-turret  high, 
Looks  proudly  on  the  landscape, 

With  his  distance-piercing  eye — 
But  my  "  BochaiVs"  eye  was  keener, 

With  its  spirit-kindled  glow, 
Than  the  melting  dart  of  lustre 

Shot  from  morning's  golden  bow  ! 

To  America  he's  gone, 

But  he  promised  to  return, 
Ere  three  floral  summer-suns 

On  our  kingly  mountains  burn  ! 
And  I  fondly  dreamt,  last  night, 

He  was  coming  o'er  the  sea, 
With  good  news  for  lonely  Erin, 

And  a  bridal  ring  for  me ! 

He  was  like  a  young  wild  steed, 

From  a  desert  bounding  out, 
And  I  fear  he  joined  the  war 

That's  between  the  North  and  South — 
For  my  sad  soul  hears  a  whisper, 

When  the  evening-shadows  frown — 
"  Oh  !  you'll  never  more  behold  him 

On  the  banks  of  Avondoun  ! " 


THE  PERI  OF  PARTEEN. 

Oh  !  sweet  are  the  lawns  where  the  sunbeams  and  shadows, 
Like  bright  and  dark  spirits,  so  silently  play, 

While  the  mist-god  is  spreading  his  white  pinions,  shedding 
Soft  golden  love-tears  on  the  oosom  of  May — 


300  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND. 

But  Nature  hath  never,  by  meadow  or  river, 
Given  sweetness  to  beauty  so  bright  to  be  seen, 

As  the  ringleted  Fairy — young  waxen-brow'd  Mary, 
The  snow-footed  Peri  of  shady  Parteen ! 

The  down  of  the  pigeon's  wing  never  fell  lighter 

On  earth  than  the  touch  of  her  echoless  feet, 
And  her  mild  face  with  innocent  blushes  is  brighter 

Than  the  fresh,  sunny,  summer-rose,  simple  and  sweet. 
But  what  is  the  charm  of  feature  or  form 

To  the  angelic  essence  that's  living  within 
The  bosom  of  Mary — the  syren-tongued  Fairy — 

The  young  dove-eyed  Peri  of  shady  Parteen  ? 

One  morning,  as  Love  sketched  an  image  of  Beauty, 

And  fancy  gave  life  to  the  portrait  he  drew, 
A  Seraph  came  down  from  the  halls  of  the  sun, 

And  over  the  sweet  picture  radiantly  flew  ; 
But  Love,  tho'  short-sighted,  took  his  pencil,  delighted, 

And  copied  that  fair  Spirit's  form  and  mien, 
Then  to  Nature  he  ran,  with  the  beautiful  plan, 

And  she  moulded  the  Peri  of  shady  Parteen  ! 

Stately  head  of  the  bright,  silken  treasure  of  tresses — 

Gentle  mouth  where  the  soul  of  sweet  melody  swims — 
Eyes  brilliantly  flashing — cheeks  modestly  blushing — 

Slender  frame  of  the  delicate  white-taper'd  limbs — 
May  virtue  watch  o'er  thee,  while  lovers  adore  thee, 

And  no  thorn  of  pain  in  thy  pure  heart  be  driven, 
'Till,  tearless  and  splendid,  life's  bright  mission  ended — 

The  angels  shall  welcome  their  sister  to  heaven  ! 


A  VISIT  TO  CORK. 

INSCRIBED   TO  ROBERT  P.    C.    WALSH,    ESQ. 

'Twas  a  bright  day  of  sunny-linked  hours, 

And  the  young  fruit  was  green  on  the  tree, 
When  I  wandered  from  Shannon's  wild  bowers 

To  thy  home  by  the  beautiful  Lee ! 
As  Nature's  child  welcomes  the  May, 

So  warm  was  thy  welcome  for  me, 
In  thy  glad  little  mansion,  so  gay, 

By  the  beautiful,  clear-flowing  Lee  ! 

The  pleasure  that  friendship  imparts 

So  seldom  from  others  I  drew, 
That  I  shrank  from  their  cold,  fireless  hearts, 

Like  a  leaf  in  the  blight-laden  dew ; 
A  genial  communion  of  soul, 

I  felt  not  with  any  but  thee, 
So  unchill'd  by  restraint  or  control, 

In  thy  home  by  the  beautiful  Lee  ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  301 

Away  with  dull  classical  arts, 

In  which  nought  but  mere  polish  can  shine 
But,  oh  !  God  !  for  a  world  of  hearts, 

And  social,  kind  natures,  like  thine ! 
Then  here's  to  the  noble-soul'd  few — 

The  lore-loving,  generous  and  free, 
Who  would  make  a  Bard  happy,  like  you, 

In  your  home  by  the  beautiful  Lee ! 

I  mark'd  the  calm  light  thy  thoughts  gave 

To  thy  brow,  as  we  two  knelt  and  pray'd 
On  the  sacred  sun -hallow' d  grave 

Where  the  Bard*  of  the  Shannon  is  laid  ! 
I.  pluck' d  a  few  leaves  o'er  his  breast, 

More  dear  than  primroses  to  me, 
For  I  envied  the  place  of  his  rest, 

By  the  beautiful,  bright-winding  Lee . 

In  his  life-time  his  soul's  loving  spring 

The  cold  world  chill'd  in  its  birth, 
And  his  fancy's  bright  star-ranging  wing 

Was  chain'd  in  the  dust  of  the  earth  ; 
When  doom'd  in  a  garret  to  pine, 

How  glad  would  his  gentle  heart  be 
To  meet  a  true  spirit,  like  thine, 

By  the  beautiful,  bright  flowing  Lee ! 

The  blast  of  the  desert  will  spare 

The  weeds  while  it  strikes  the  flowers  dead, 
Thus  fools  are  regarded,  with  care, 

Whilst  prophets  are  pining  for  bread — 
Ah !  such,  noble  Bard  !  was  thy  lot, 

While  folly  was  pamper'd  round  thee, 
You  thought,  toil'd,  and  sung  on,  forgot, 

Far,  far  from,  the  Shannon  and  Lee ! 

To  the  Botanic  Gardens  we  stray'd, 

To  the  grave  of  the  "  Minstrel  Man  /"+ 
Who  to  maidens  and  matrons  play'd, 

By  the  Nore,  Suir,  Barrow,  and  Bann — 
As  his  epitaph-record  I  read, 

I  offer' d  his  memory  a  tear  ; 
"Oh,  blest  be  the  kind  bands !"  I  said, 

That  erected  this  monument  here  !" 

The  nettles  and  weeds  that  had  grown 

O'er  the  sleep  of  the  song-honour'd  dead, 
We  tore  up,  around  the  gray  stone, 

And  cast  them  away  from  his  bed — 

*  Gerald  Griffin  is  buried  in  the  North  Cemetery  at  Cork. 

t  Edward  Walsh,  the  gifted  author  of  many  original  and  beautiful  com- 
positions, breathing  the  native  sweetness  of  true,  harmonious  Irish  poetry, 
His  correct  knowledge  of  the  ancient  Gaelic  enabled  him  to  translate  a  large 
number  of  Irish  poems  into  English,  without  losing  any  of  the  freshness, 
viracity,  and  point  of  the  mother-tongue. 


302  lAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Tho'  his  heart  in  Life's  battle  was  stung, 
Yet  few  weeds  in  his  nature  had  he, 

While  his  bruised  spirit  gushed  into  song, 
By  the  beautiful,  bright-flowing  Lee ! 

Dear  Bard  of  the  soul-kindling  flame— 

My  brother  in  poesy  and  love — 
Thou  art  hymning  a  God-praising  theme, 

In  the  angel-orchestra  above ! 
Farewell  to  thy  bough-shadow'd  tomb  ! 

Where  the  soft  winds  sing  requiems  o'er  thee- 
Farewell  to  my  friend  and  his  home, 

By  the  beautiful,  bright-flowing  Lee  ! 


THE    SPECTRE-BRIDE. 

A  LEGEND  OF  KINKORA.* 

Majestic  and  grand  are  the  towers  of  Kinkora, 

With  her  "Palace  of  jewels,"  all  sparkling  in  sheen  ; 
There's  not  in  the  land  of  romantic  Temora 

A  Palace  so  glorious — a  valley  so  green. 
There  Nature  has  flung  o'er  bright  lake  and  lone  dale, 

A  magic  more  brilliant  than  ever  descended, 
By  the  strong  wizard-power  of  the  Druids  of  La  Fail,f 

On  the  Spirit-guarded  circle  of  Temair  the  splendid. 
How  gorgeously-beauteous,  and  solemnly-dark, 

The  hills  weave  their  shades  o'er  the  waters  below  ? 
Each  showing  to  heaven  the  lightning's  black  mark 

On  the  brown  rocky-mail  of  its  bosom  and  brow. 
And  the  woods  at  their  feet,  how  enchanting  they  seem  ? 

In  the  mountain-wind  ringing  their  bright  leafy-bells, 
As  if  Nature  delighted  lay  there,  in  a  dream, 

Charm'd  into  repose  by  the  voice  of  their  spells. 
And  the  Palace— how  proud  by  the  beam-glinting  surge 

It  stands,  with  its  marble  walls  fronting  the  sun ; 
Looking  out  o'er  the  Lake,  from  the  shore's  radiant  verge, 

With  the  pomp  and  the  glow  of  an  Archangel's  throne. 

Here  and  there  the  quick  glancing  of  gold-hilted  blades, 
Like  sun-born  flashes,  burst  out  from  the  shades 
Where  the  princes  and  lords,  tired  of  revel  and  song, 
Are  roving  the  woods'  fairy  shadows  among, 
While  out  on  the  lawn,  in  the  thyme-scented  air, 
Walk  virgins  as  gloriously-beauteous  and  fair 

*  A.  D.  978,  Brian  was  crowned  King  of  Munster.  Tradition  reports  that 
on  the  same  year  the  harvest  was  so  abundant,  the  people  were  unable  to 
gather  it  all  in. 

t  The  above  poem  attempts  to  describe  the  Coronation-banquet  given  by 
the  monarch  at  Kinkora,  where  all  the  brave  and  fair  of  the  province 
assembled  to  enjoy  the  festivities. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  303 

As  Deirdre  the  lovely  or  Blanaid  the  bright,* 

For  whom  Naois  and  Conrigh  were  vanquish' d  in  fight. 

Then  to  hear  the  rich  swell  of  the  harps  in  the  halls, 

As  if  angels,  in  song,  to  each  other  were  speaking, 
By  turns  the  rich  concert  rises  and  falls, 

Round  the  bright  plains  the  sweet-thrilling  melody  shaking 
And  down  by  the  shore,  in  green  Edens  of  shade, 

To  see  the  King-guests  in  their  grandeur  reclining — 
Their  rich  vests,  with  six  radiant  colours  array'd, 

And  their  bright  silken  mantles  with  gold  spangles  shining, 
While  the  waves,  stealing  in  on  the  brown-glossy  sand, 

Fell  asleep  in  the  sun,  with  a  musical  tone  ; 
Like  large  silver  rings  from  the  Lake-spirit's  hand, 

As  tokens  of  joy,  at  the  heroes'  feet  thrown. 

Blue  evening  descended — the  day-beams  retire. 

And  the  crests  of  the  hills  are  all  plumed  with  their  fire — 

Red  gold-colour'd  clouds  of  bright  purple  and  brown, 

Like  flame-banners  hung  o'er  Craighlea's  yellow  crown. 

All  was  dusky  and  calm,  and  the  white-horn'd  moon 

Peer'd  dim  thro'  the  deep  aerial-crystal  of  June  ; 

And  the  pale  fairy-mist  on  the  hill-woods  arose, 

Slowly  casting  its  veil  o'er  their  twilight-repose. 

Each  mountain  exchanged  its  deep,  azure  eve-gem 

For  a  gray  moonlight-robe  and  a  star-diadem, 

And,  towering  in  heavenly  dignity,  stood, 

Like  planet-guards  watching  the  empire  of  God. 

Not  a  wave,  on  its  bosom,  a  moon-sparkle  bore 

From  the  lake's  holy  isles  to  the  flowers  of  the  shore — 

But  all  is  as  dreamy  and  beautiful  there 

As  if  the  calm  waters  stood  silent  in  prayer, 

While,  silvered  with  moonlight,  the  grand  Palace-towers 

In  kingly  magnificence,  peer'd  thro'  the  bowers  ; 

Enchantment  around  them  and  glory  above, 

And  within  them  all  beauty,  and  music,  and  love — 

For  long  ere  the  day's  flaming  circle  went  down 

The  blue  slope  of  heaven,  in  dazzling  career, 
Mononia  gave  Brian  her  glory -gemmed  crown, 

And  made  him  her  king  'neath  the  Oak  of  Adair.  + 

And  her  bravest,  and  proudest,  and  highest,  to-night, 
Have  come  to  Kinkora,  with  joy  in  their  souls — 

To  bow  at  the  throne  of  the  gifted  and  bright, 

And  quaff  the  red  stream  of  his  gold-circled  bowls, 

*  "  The  magical  Stone  of  Destiny  on  which  the  Tuatha  De  Danaan  kings 
were  crowned  at  Tara,  attended  by  Druids,  with  their  mysterious  ceremonials. 
This  stone  was  taken  away  to  Scone,  in  Scotland,  and  afterwards  to  West- 
minister, where  it  is  still  to  be  seen." — Four  Masters'  Annals. 

t  The  royal  Oak  of  Moyadair,  beneath  whose  boughs  the  Dalcassian 
kings  where  crowned.  It  was  cut  down  by  Malachy  II.,  in  one  of  his  raids 
against  Brian. 


304  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

All,  all  is  love,  harmony,  chivalry,  mirth — 

And  a  thousand  lights  blaze  o'er  the  face  of  the  plain — 
Oh  !  it  seem'd  a  new  Eden  created  on  earth, 

Where  the  serpent  could  never  find  entrance  again. 
The  laugh  of  the  joyous — the  cheer  of  the  free 
Rose  wild  as  the  deep  summer-song  of  the  sea ; 
The  humblest  there  is  no  vassal  nor  slave, 
But  a  freeborn  soul,  bound  by  love  to  the  brave. 
Bonfires  redden'd  the  clouds  on  the  mountain's  gray  head, 

And  the  spirit  of  song  thro'  the  valleys  was  pour'd, 
And  rich  festive-boards  round  the  gay  lawns  were  spread, 

Where  the  peasant  may  banquet  as  well  as  the  lord. 
White  maidens,  like  heavenly  spirits,  were  seen 

Gliding  playful  the  moon-border'd  larch-bowers  among, 
With  the  smile  of  a  happy  soul  bright  on  each  mien, 

And  a  soft  Gaelic  ditty  alive  on  each  tongue. 
But  to  hear  how  the  harps  flung  their  notes  into  one 

Diapason  of  sweetness  the  grand  halls  within — 
As  if  the  rich  soul  of  each  note  that  was  gone 

Threw  back  on  the  strings  its  wild  magic  again. 
The  jewels  of  princesses  glisten'd  and  blazed, 
And  dazzled  the  eyes  of  the  chiefs  as  they  gazed  ; 
The  regal  boards  groan'd  with  the  savoury  food — 
White  fish  from  the  lake  and  red  deer  from  the  wood — 
Young  kine  from  the  meadow — fat  sheep  from  the  hill, 
The  snipe  from  the  marsh  and  the  duck  from  the  rill — 
la  goblets  of  silver  the  Danes'  mystic  Boir,* 

Whose  current  would  warm  the  ice-heart  of  death, 
Show'd  the  luxurious  glow  of  its  sweet  liquid-fire, 

Distill'd  from  the  juice  of  the  green  fairy-heath — 
And  the  guests  toasted,  drank,  cheer' d,  and  feasted,  and  sang, 
For  the  stars  of  the  land  round  the  board  were  assembled ; 
And  the  music  and  dancing  incessantly  rang, 

'Till  the  towers  of  the  Palace  resounded  and  trembled. 

'Twas  midnight,  and  yet  the  wild  revel  went  on 
As  joyous  and  brilliant  as  when  it  began  : 
But  the  ladies  and  maids  to  their  chambers  are  gone, 
From  the  festive  delights  of  the  dais,  but  one — 
One  strange,  darkly-beautiful,  wizard-eyed  queen, 
Who  never  till  now  at  the  palace  was  seen — 


*  Tradition  reports  that  the  Danes  made  a  sweet-flavoured  and  intoxicat- 
ing liquor  from  the  mountain-heath  ;  but  so  well  did  they  conceal  the  art, 
that  the  Irish  never  could  discover  it.  One  of  those  foreigners  and  his 
son  were  detected  at  the  process  of  distillation,;  they  were  threatened  with 
instant  death  if  they  refused  to  impart  the  knowledge  of  the  art ;  the  wily 
father  promised'to  reveal  the  secret  provided  his  son  were  killed,  as  he  feared 
he  would  tell  his  countrymen  and  bring  vengeance  on  him.  The  son  was 
accordingly  despatched,  when  the  father  said,  with  a  triumphant  sneer, 
"  Now  do  ye  the  same  to  myself,  for  ye  shall  never  know  this  secret !'' 
The  hardened  old  pirate  was  at  once  put  to  death.  A 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  305 

Unknown  to  the  guests  were  her  kindred  and  name — 

Slight  were  her  arms  and  slender  her  frame ; 

Berry-black  were  her  keen  eyes,  but  darker  her  hair, 

As  if  all  the  gloom  of  December  were  there  ; 

Yet  her  brow  glistened  pale,  as  the  crescent  of  light 

That  divides  the  dim  empires  of  morning  and  night — 

Her  bosom  betray'd  no  emotion  of  breath, 

For  the  springs  of  her  being  seem'd  tideless  beneath, 

As  if  her  whole  soul  in  one  deep  thought  was  thrown 

In  her  eye  of  dark  flame  and  her  cold  brow  of  stone. 

Thro'  the  glittering  assembly  her  lurid  eye  ran, 

'Till  its  hot  glance  indignant  was  fixed  upon  one — 

One  stern-brow'd  chief — the  fierce  Tanist  of  Brugh, 

And  well  those  dark  eyes  and  white  features  he  knew. 

Then  she  lifted  the  golden-fringed  fulluinn  she  wore, 

And  crossed,  like  a  cloud-shade,  the  bright,  marble  floor, 

And  stood,  with  her  freezing  brow,  fronting  the  throne 

Where  the  newly-crowned  king,  like  a  summer-day,  shone. 

His  large  eagle-eyes  met  her  gaze,  with  a  thrill,"" 

That  made,  for  a  moment,  their  planets  stand  still ; 

And  the  revellers  grew  mute,  and  astounded,  look'd  up, 

While  the  wine  lay  untasted  and  cold  in  each  cup. 

As  amid  the  drear  pomp  of  a  frost-stricken  wood 

Stands  the  snowy-hair' d  angel  of  winter — she  stood 

Darkly,  fearfully  beauteous — repulsing,  with  awe, 

Each  heart  that  approached  her — each  proud  eye  that  saw — 

But  the  Ard  Righ  addressed  her — "  Strange  Lady  !  speak  free, 

If  favour  or  boon  thou  requirest  of  me!"* 

Unmoved  was  her  figure — unchanged  was  her  eye, 
And  her  lips  were  as  steel  sending  forth  a  reply  ; 
And  no  pallor  crept  into  her  cheek's  hectic  flush, 
Like  the  dingy-red  leaf  of  the  sick  autumn-bush — 

"King  !  the  sound  of  thy  fame  shall  be  heard  o'er  the  main, 
But  the  earth  shall  drink  blood  in  the  days  of  thy  reign  ! 

*  So  strictly  did  Brian  see  the  administration  of  justice  carried  out,  that 
neither  wealth,  position,  nor  dignity  could  save  an  offender  from  due 
punishment.  At  one  time  a  serious  crime  was  charged  against  one  of  his 
sons,  and  he  immediately  had  him  tried  before  a  chief  brehon  (judge)  and 
jury.  Being  convicted  and  sentenced,  no  mitigation  would  be  granted  by 
the  monarch,  the  fall  penalty  was  paid.  He  said  that  while  he  punished 
offences  in  his  own  family,  it  would  deter  others,  and  make  them  respect 
the  law.  He  frequently  repudiated  his  queen,  Gormlaith,  for  her  extrava- 
gant vanity  and  arrogance,  but  he  only  drew  on  his  head  the  eternal  resent- 
ment of  that  sublime  Fury,  who,  with  the  aid  of  her  brother,  stirred  up 
the  Danes  against  him,  promising,  by  private  letters,  her  hand  in  marriage 
to  three  of  their  principal  commanders,  viz.,  Brodar,  Satric,  and  Anrud,  if 
they  would  overthrow  her  husband  in  battle  ;  consequently  they  fought  like 
demons,  at  Clontarf ,  for  the  hand  of  the  queen  of  Ireland,  without  knowing 
each  other's  motives,  so  well  did  each  keep  her  secret  to  himself.  After  the 
fall  of  Brian  she  married  Malachy,  his  successor,  who  was  her  third  husband  ; 
Olaf,  the  Danish  King  of  Dublin,  was  her  first ;  she  died  in  1030. 


306  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Yet,  like  David,  the  chosen  of  God,  ithou'lt  outshine 
All  the  victors  of  Eire — all  the  kings  of  thy  line — 
But  if  thou  hast  a  heart  for  the  injured,  I  claim 
A  boon  of  redress  in  the  injured  one's  name ; 
Call  before  thee  yon  reptile  that  lurks  in  the  throng, 
'Till  I  whiten  his  cheek,  with  the  tale  of  my  wrong  !" 

She  pointed  at  Firgal  the  Tanist  of  Brugh, 

He,  cowering,  sank  under  the  board  from  her  view, 

And  a  sneer  on  her  lip  coldly,  scornfully  play'd, 

Like  the  curl  of  a  stream  in  a  bleak,  haunted  shade. 

The  king  shook  his  sceptre,  commanding  aloud, 

The  chief  to  come  forth  from  the  banquetting  crowd, 

But  two  heralds  brought  him  out  from  his  dark-lurking  place, 

With  the  cold  sweat  of  fear  glistening  o'er  his  white  face. 

The  lady  look'd  on  him,  with  wrathful  disdain, 

And  the  flame  of  her  wild  eye  seem'd  scorching  his  brain, 

And  her  hoarse,  angry  voice  did  the  sternest  appal, 

As  it  rang,  like  the  shriek  of  a  blast,  through  the  hall. 

"Twelve  red  moons  have  traversed  the  skies  since  the  night, 

On  the  banks  of  the  Comog,  I  gave  thee  my  plight! 

And  thou  swor'st,  aloud,  by  the  Gospel,  to  be 

A  sire  to  my  child  and  a  consort  to  me ! 

I  believed  thee — the  angels  or  demons  of  space 

Could  not  then  read  the  lie  in  thy  cold-blooded  face ; 

Moreover  you  swore  by  Saint  Bride's  holy  ring, 

That,  when  sceptred  Mononia  would  crown  her  next  king, 

At  his  coronation-banquet  I'd  proudly  preside, 

With  the  church-hallowed  name  of  a  wife,  by  thy  side — 

Ha!  thou'st  kept  all  thy  treacherous  promises  well, 

But  the  river  the  rest  of  my  history  can  tell! 

Now  the  king  has  been  crown'd  and  the  banquet  is  laid, 

And  'tis  time  to  redeem  all  the  vows  thou  hast  made! 

My  cheek  has  not  lost  the  bright  stain  of  its  red, 

Tho'  sleeping  for  months  in  the  water's  bleak  bed — 

Here's  the  ring  in  my  hand— let  the  priest  read  the  rite, 

And  we  both  shall  be  happy  in  wedlock  to-night ! 

No  bridesmaid  nor  guest  to  our  nuptials  we'll  bring — 

Wilt  thou  honour  my  claim,  with  thy  sanction?  0  King ! 

I  cannot  wait  longer,  the  rite  must  be  done, 

Ere  the  gray  East  puts  on  the  red  ring  of  the  sun!" 

The  nobles  look'd  dumb  on  the  guilty  accused, 

And  the  Ard  Righ  gazed  round  him  bewildered,  confused, 

But  ere  monarch  or  brehon  had  time  to  reply, 

The  cock's  clarion  told  that  the  morning  was  nigh ; 

To  a  column  of  darkness  the  weird  lady  grew, 

While  the  blaze  of  the  lamps  turned  purple  and  blue, 

And  each  chief  felt  his  clouded  eyes  smitten  with  pain, 

As  if  a  black  fever-dream  swam  thro'  his  brain. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  307 

Dim,  livid  and  sombre  shades  flitted  around, 

With  the  wint'ry  moan  of  a  whirlwind's  deep  sound, 

And  on  to  the  door  the  black  gloom- wave  was  borne, 

Like  an  eclipse  slow-walking  the  hall  of  the  morn. 

All  is  silent  again,  save  the  roll  of  the  flood, 

And  the  dull,  raving  sound  of  the  wind-shaken  wood  : 

But  the  East  show'd  the  first  crimson  spangle  of  dawn, 

And  the  dark  Spectre-Bride  with  her  bridegroom  was  gone. 


THE  DESTRUCTION  OF  KINKORA.* 

THE   PROPHECY   OF  MORTOGHMORE  O'BRIEN'S  BARD. 

O'er  gloomy  Slieve  Bernagh  the  evening  fog  roll'd 

Its  mantle  of  vapour,  in  many  a  gray  fold ; 

The  women  of  Thomond  are  singing  the  caoine,^ 

Where  they  searched  for  their  dead  on  the  war-redden'd  plain. 

The  cattle  are  dying  of  plague  in  the  vale, 

And  the  green  of  the  land  has  grown  meagre  and  pale, 

For  God  has  look'd  down  on  man's  record  of  wrong, 

With  a  scourge  in  His  hand,  and  a  curse  on  His  tongue. 

Oh !  ye  blind  race  of  Golamh,  why  do  ye  provoke 

The  Holy  One's  anger — the  wrath  of  his  stroke  ? 

He  gave  ye  a  land  full  of  sun-ripen'd  grain — 

Ye  quarrell'd  and  sinn'd — and  he  sent  ye  the  Dane, 

With  a  hell-temper'd  sword  to  demolish  and  slay, 

'Till  your  Isle,  like  a  burnt-up  wilderness  lay — 

'Till  your  heart-bleeding  septs  found  their  desolate  tombs 

In  the  ashes  and  wreck  of  their  fire-blacken'd  homes — 

But  the  tears  of  the  saints  quenched  the  nation's  death-pyre, 

And  appeased,  for  a  season,  the  Holy  One's  ire — 

Then  He  sent  to  redeem  ye,  King  Brian  the  Grand, 

Who  banish'd  the*  red-demon  pests  from  your  land, 

And  he  lifted  ye  up  from  your  ashes  blood-leaven, 

'Till  your  free  Island  laughed  with  the  brightness  of  heaven ! 

But  again  shrieks  the  Cain-cry  of  blood  on  your  brand, 
For  brother  'gainst  brother,  has  lifted  his  hand — 
Woe,  woe  to  your  discords  !  ye  blind-hearted  men ! 
Ye  have  anger' d  the  Lord  to  chastise  ye  again! 
And  He'll  roll  a  death-stone  o'er  your  Island  of  mist, 
That  shall  wither  your  spirits  and  grind  you,  like  grist, 
Yea,  He'll  send  a  fierce  scourge  ten  times  worse  than  the  Dane, 
And  the  nations  shall  laugh  at  the  howl  of  your  pain! 

*  A.D.  1118,  Torlogh  O'Connor,  King  of  Connaught,  advanced  to  Kinkora, 
tore  down  the  royal  edifice,  and  hurled  it,  wood  and  stone,  into  the 
Shannon  :  the  Dalgais,  at  the  time,  being  so  weakened  from  continual  war- 
fare, were  unable  to  defend  it,  but  in  two  years  after  they  invaded  Con- 
naught,  plundered  and  burned  it,  and  did  not  leave  of  O'Connor's  palace 
one  stone  upon  another  even  to  the  lowest  foundation.  This  they  did  in 
revenge  for  the  ruin  of  their  favourite  Kinkora. 

t  It  was  a  custom  with  the  women  to  sing  the  death  chant  or  caoine, 
while  searching  the  field  for  their  dead  relatives,  after  a  battle. 


308  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Base  strangers  shall  pollute  the  hearths  of  your  kings, 

And  your  customs  erase  as  abominable  things! 

And  your  princes,  with  all  the  high  pride  of  their  birth, 

Shall  be  rooted,  like  trees,  from  the  breast  of  the  earth ! 

Woe,  woe  to  your  discords — ye  doom'd  Gaels  of  Eire — 

The  death-toothed  harrow  of  famine  and  fire, 

On  his  mission  of  vengeance,  a  foreigner  brings  * 

To  rake  ye  to  dust,  princes,  people  and  kings ! 

Ha!  the  fruit  of  your  fields  for  a  stranger  shall  grow, 

And  your  grim  persecutors  shall  mock  at  your  woe ! 

Your  children  shall  wander,  like  sea-birds  forlorn, 

Cast  out  from  their  homes,  like  the  chaff  of  a  barn — 

And  thus  shall  your  murderous  dissensions  be  cool'd, 

When  your  land  by  the  base-blooded  stranger  is  ruled! 

Return,  O'Connor!  return  to  thy  home, 

Desecrate  not  a  stone  of  yon  bright  palace-dome ! 

The  steel-talon'd  Eagles  it  nurst  in  its  breast 

Have  perish'd  in  fight — then  destroy  not  the  nest! 

The  mighty  MacLoughlin  consumed  it  before, 

In  the  turbulent  days  of  the  fierce  Mortoghmore,f 

But  the  king  to  the  blue  North  his  wrathful  face  turn'd, 

And  Aileach  the  Pompous  to  ashes  he  burn'd  ! 

And  his  clansmen  return'd,  each  bringing  a  stone 

Of  the  proud  palace-walls  by  his  vengeance  o'erthrown — 

Then  remember,  0  King !  tho'  the  Dalgais,  this  hour, 

Are  unable  to  stem  the  great  tide  of  thy  power, 

Yet  they'll  gather  their  might,  like  the  might  of  the  sea, 

And,  with  ruin  and  blood,  thy  black  insult  repay! 

Retire,  haughty  chief!  let  Kinkora  alone — 

For  I  swear  by  the  sun!  if  you  touch  but  one  stone! 

The  demons  of  hell  and  angels  of  heaven 

Shall  sup  at  one  feast  ere  the  wrong  be  forgiven!" 

Thus  sang  the  bard,  in  a  robe  of  white, 

As  he  stood  'mid  the  shadows  of  brown  Craighlea ; 
His  wild  eye  red  as  a  furnace-light, 

And  his  bold  mouth  teeming  with  prophecy — 
"Thou,  evil  lips!"  said  the  frowning  king, 

"Here's  a  chain  of  gold  to  curb  thy  tongue!" 
The  angry  bard  caught  the  glittering  thing, 

Which  into  the  deep  lake's  wave  he  flung, 

*  Alluding  to  the  Norman  invasion  which  soon  followed. 

+  "In  1064,  MacLoughlin,  Prince  of  Aileach,  invaded  the  principality  of 
Mortoghmore  O'Brien,  King  of  Munster;  among  other  predatory  acts,  he 
plundered  and  demolished  the  Palace  of  Kinkora.  Mortogh,  after  re-edify- 
ing it,  marched  into  Ulster,  and  burned  down  the  royal  Palace  of  Aileach, 
and  made  each  man  of  his  army  bring  away  a  stone  of  it  into  Thomond. 
How  peacefully  he  waited  for  three  years,  during  which  time  he  had  his 
ancestral  palace  in  course  of  reconstruction,  before  he  thought  of  bringing 
away  the  stones  of  Aileach  from  the  North.  This  was  an  act  of  vengeance 
with  a  vengeance,  which  put  to  the  blush  the  wildest  exploit  of  his  fiercest 
enemy." — Annafo  of  Thomond. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  309 

Then  he  turned  his  eye  from  the  curling  flood, 

And  said  to  the  king,  with  a  darken'd  smile, 
"May  thy  proud  house  perish  in  flame  and  blood, 

If  you  lift  a  hand  to  yon  princely  pile!" 
The  monarch  pass'd,  with  his  spears  of  war 

Shining  o'er  the  crests  of  his  veteran  powers, 
Who,  with  rooting  axe  and  disjointing  bar, 

Assail'd  the  fair  walls  of  the  kingly  towers — 
Unroof'd  were  chamber  and  banquet-hall — 

Brief  was  the  work  of  ten  thousand  hands, 
While,  breach  by  breach,  wall  after  wall, 

Went  down,  with  a  crash,  on  the  smoking  sands. 
The  oaken  boards  and  the  seats  of  state, 

With  their  regal  carvings  and  polish 'd  frame, 
The  base  kerns  smash'd,  in  their  wolfish  hate, 

And  hurl'd  them,  piecemeal,  into  the  stream. 
The  echoes  groan'd  as  the  wreckers'  cheer 

On  the  passing  wing  of  the  lake-gale  leapt ; 
But  the  old  men  of  Cas,  who  were  standing  near, 

Turn'd  their  brows  to  the  earth  and  wept — 
Tower  and  column  were  riven  and  roll'd 

Into  the  ruin-discolour'd  tide, 
Where,  like  growing  banks-of  shapeless  mould, 

They  turn'd  the  lordly  river  aside. 
And  King  O'Connor  look'd  joyfully  on, 

'Till  the  walls  were  plough'd  to  the  very  dust, 
And  when  the  unholy  work  was  done, 

A  vengeful  laugh  from  his  curved  lip  burst. 
Kinkora,  that  day,  was  a  woeful  sight, 

Hurl'd  into  the  grave  of  the  yellow  flood  ; 
Oh !  they  left  not  a  vestige,  nor  stone  upright, 

To  mark  where  the  House  of  King  Brian  stood. 
The  priests  of  the  Dalgais  gaz'd  from  the  hill, 

And  their  big  tears  flow'd,  and  their  heads  they  shook — 
They  tore  their  robes,  as  they  cried  their  fill, 

And  curst  O'Connor,  with  bell  and  book. 
But  when  the  blood-stain'd  ravagers  went 

Their  way — while  the  scene  in  the  sunset  slept — 
Bard,  brehon,  and  clansman,  with  deep  lament, 

Surrounded  the  place,  and,  like  children,  wept. 

"0  Kinkora!  high  dwelling  of  banquet  and  song! 

Where  the  gold-crown'd  kings  of  the  nation  met, 
At  feast  and  council — oh,  heart  of  the  strong ! 

How  has  the  light  of  thy  grandeur  set? 
Rich  queen  of  great  treasures !  sad  is  thy  mishap! 

None  thought  that  forlorn  and  poor  you'd  be, 
When  the  wealth  of  an  empire  was  laid  in  thy  lap,  * 

And  wonderful  tributes  pour'd  into  thee ! 

*  Tradition  relates  that  the  wealth  of  this  palace  was  so  immense  it  was 
sufficient  to  purchase  a  kingdom.  It  was  usually  called  "  the  Palace  of 
jewels"  "by  the  bards  and  JSeanachies,  on  account  of  its  enormous  treasures. 


310  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

There  none  ask'd  the  foot-sore  traveller's  name, 

When  he  went  to  thy  hall  and  sat  down  to  dine — 
None  ask'd  who  he  was,  or  whence  he  came, 

But  gave  him  plenty  of  meat  and  wine ! 
There  the  weak  found  pity — the  weary  found  rest — 

The  scholar  found  honour — the  orphan  bread — 
There  the  plaint  of  the  injured  was  heard  and  redress' d, 

And  the  wandering  minstrel  welcomed  and  fed — 
Oh,  generous  house  of  majestic  souls! 

We  thought  thy  glory  would  never  fall, 
When  we  saw,  at  one  banquet,  a  thousand  bowls 

Of  silver  and  gold  in  thy  sounding  hall ! 
Tis  well  for  Mac  Leig  *  that  he  lies  in  dust, 

For  if  he  were  living,  this  night,  to  see 
Thy  black  desolation,  his  heart  would  burst, 

fn  singing  another  "Lament"  for  thee! 
Ah !  'tis  well  for  the  cruel  despoilers  now, 

That  Brian,  the  mighty  Avenger,  is  dead, 
For  instead  of  each  stone  of  his  palace  laid  low, 

He'd  take  as  an  eric,  +  a  Connaughtman's  head! 
Or  if  Morogh,  the  slayer  of  armies,  were  here — 

'Tis  dearly  those  brigands  their  deed  would  rue — 
Or  fierce  Mortoghmore,  with  his  mail- cleaving  spear ! 

That  the  champions  of  Aileach,  in  battle,  o'erthrew! 
But  a  day  of  blood-reckoning  is  near  at  hand, 

For  the  war-hawks  of  Eber  shall  soon  grow  strong 
.  To  wreak  their  resentment,  with  fire  and  brand, 

On  the  raiders — Kinkora!  who  wrought  this  wrong! 


THE  PIRATE  OF  DUNLICA.  + 

A   LEGEND   OF  CORCOWASKIN.  % 

Fair  Una  MacMahon,  the  yellow-haired  bride 
Of  the  Lord  of  Dunlica,  sits  lone  by  the  tide  ; 

*  He  was  Brian's  Bard  and  Secretary  of  State.  See  Mangan's  transla- 
tion of  his  beautiful  "  Lament  for  Kinkora,"  after  Brian's  fall  at  Clontarf. 
He  died  in  the  Isle  of  Man,  two  years  after  the  battle. 

t  A  fine  or  compensation. 

In  Loch  Dearg,  adjacent  to  the  Palace,  tradition  tells  that  the  far-famed 
magical  collar  of  Moran  lies  hidden.  This  wonderful  collar  was  used  by 
the  brehons,  or  chief  judges,  to  elicit  true  testimony  from  sworn  witnesses 
in  law  suits.  It  was  placed  around  the  neck  of  the  witness,  but  if  he  swore 
falsely  it  immediately  contracted  and  choked  him.  I  only  wish  we  had 
many  such  collars  now,  at  least  one  in  every  courthouse  in  Ireland. 

X  Dunlica  Castle  (or  rather  the  ruins  of  it)  stands  on  a  naked  cliff,  in  a 
deserted  and  romantic  spot,  on  the  south-western  coast  of  Clare,  between 
Kilkee  and  Carrigaholt.  According  to  some  oral  accounts,  it  Was  built  in 
the  fifteenth  century  by  one  of  the  MaeMahons  of  Corcovaskin.  It  was 
long  the  abode  of  pirates  and  wreckers,  the  principal  of  whom  was  Cean 
Dhu,  or  dark  head,  the  hero  of  the  above  poem,  who  possessed  the  castle 
through  a  marriage  alliance  with  the  MacMahon  family.  Fragments  of 
the  burned  ship,  which  belonged  to  this  pirate  chief,  have  often  been  found 
on  the  coast,  b\iried  in  the  sand. 

§  "  Corcovaskin  comprises  the  baronies  of  Moyarta,  Clonderalaw,  and 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  311 

The  red  eve  is  quench'd  in  the  blue,  sullen  main, 

And  the  night-mist  hangs  pale  over  stormy  Moveen. 

The  waves,  in  a  war-dance,  are  shouting  below, 

And  tossing  about  their  tiaras  of  snow, 

Besieging  the  bounds  of  that  cliff-guarded  shore, 

Which  may  challenge  their  might  for  five  thousand  years 


But  why  sits  fair  Una  alone  on  the  verge 

Of  that  desolate  rock,  by  the  roar  of  the  surge  ? 

The  wave-spray  is  silvering  the  silk  of  her  hair, 

The  darkness  grows  'round  her,  and  still  she  is  there ! 

The  sea-birds  are  shrieking,  like  ghosts,  'round  the  cliffs, 

And  the  fishers  have  steer'd  to  the  brown  bay  their  skiffs, 

For  they  know  by  the  low  dingy  scud  of  the  South, 

That  the  fiend  of  the  tempest  to-night  will  be  out. 

And  Una  has  watch'd,  from  the  dusk  to  the  dark, 

For  the  breeze-swollen  wings  of  her  Ocean-Chief's  bark, 

Which  has  gone  in  pursuit  of  some  maritime  prey, 

Since  morning  put  on  the  sun-splendours  of  day. 

Twelve  evenings  had  crimson' d  the  face  of  the  tide, 

Since  the  Lord  of  Dunlica  had  made  her  his  bride  : 

Of  all  brave  sea-rovers  the  bravest  was  he, 

And  of  Thomond's  fair  daughters  the  fairest  was  she, 

With  ringlets  which  hung,  like  a  beautiful  charm, 

O'er  the  delicate  mould  of  her  snow-neck  and  arm, 

And  lips,  like  a  rich  glowing  crescent  of  coral 

Enclosing  a  sea-fairy's  palace  of  pearl ; 

And  her  face,  like  a  seraph's  cast  into  repose, 

Had  the  fresh,  sweet  Spring-bloom  of  the  young  desert  rose  ; 

And  her  form,  like  the  green,  slender  poplar  in  May, 

When  the  zephyrs,  in  music,  steal  round  it  to  play  ; 

Yet  her  eye,  when  the  veil  of  its  lightning  was  raised, 

Like  the  flash  of  her  father's  blue  scimitar,  blazed  ^ 

For  her  spirit,  when  angry,  look'd  out  from  her  face, 

With  the  grand,  stern  pride  of  her  regal-soul'd  race. 

Since  childhood  she  haunted  the  glorious  sea-shore, 

In  love  with  its  terrors,  and  pleased  with  the  roar 

Of  the  thunder-toned  surges  that  danced  in  and  out, 

Like  an  army  of  white  giants  charging  about ; 

And  Una  became  like  a  thing  of  the  sea, 

Begot  of  its  grandeur  and  born  of  the  spray, 

Ibrickane.  It  was  called  after  Baskin,  the  second  son  of  Conaire,  Monarch 
of  Ireland,  in  the  second  century.  The  O'Donnells  were  the  principal 
owners  until  dispossessed  by  the  MacMahons,  an  offshoot  of  the  O'Briens. 
They  built  many  castles  in  Corcovaskin,  such  as  Carrigaholt,  i.e.,  the 
Rock  of  the  boats,  the  castle  of  Kilmuxry  in  Ibrickane,  the  castles  of 
Dun  beg  and  Dunmore,  and  several  other  fortresses,  the  ruins  of  which 
attest  the  great  former  strength  of  those  places.  Cleena  was  another 
important  stronghold  of  this  ancient  and  once-powerful  family." — Annals 
of  Thomond. 


312  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Till  her  spirit  look'd  scornfully  back  to  the  earth, 
That  bounded  her  wanderings  and  boasted  her  birth. 

When  the  red,  sombre  sun-mist  of  evening  was  thrown 
O'er  the  ocean,  she  gazed  on  its  glory  alone, 
As  she  stood  o'er  the  blue  mountain-swell  of  the  deep, 
Like  a  bride  of  the  Wind-God,  enthroned  on  a  steep  ; 
Or  she  rush'd,  in  her  skiff,  thro'  the  combat  of  waves 
As  if  the  mad  seas  and  wild  squalls  were  her  slaves, 
And  she  seem'd,  on  the  white-rolling  surges,  to  be 
Like  a  darling  child  danced  on  a  fierce  parent's  knee. 
The  wild  ocean-birds  were  not  daunted  nor  scared 
From  their  places  of  rest  when  the  princess,  appear' d ; 
For  they  knew,  as  she  strayed  on  the  cliffs,  flinty  shelves, 
That  she  loved  the  grand  sea  and  was  wild  as  themselves  ! 
And  she  was  the  child  of  a  chief  that  ne'er  bow'd — 
MacMahon,  of  Baskinn,  the  princely  and  proud; 
And  she  wedded  the  Lord  of  Dunlica,  because 
He  lived  free  as  the  shark,  and  regarded  no  laws  : 
The  Sassenach  sailors  long  dreaded  and  knew 
His  power ; — and  the  peasantry  call'd  him  Cean  Dhu  ! 

The  last  dusky  sun-streak  is  gone  from  the  sky, 

And  the  clouds — like  black  war-steeds  that  riderless  fly 

From  the  red  press  of  battle — are  rapidly  borne 

Thro'  the  dim,  aerial  vault,  with  their  sable  skirts  torn, 

For  the  tempest  has  sounded  its  battle-charge  dire, 

And  the  breakers  leapt  up,  as  if  pinion'd  on  fire, 

Shouting  awful  defiance  to  lightning  and  squall, 

And  shaking  the  cliffs  with  the  crash  of  their  fall ; 

Fierce-blending  their  war-whoops,  majestic  in  one 

Thunder-chorus  of  wrath,  as  they  madly  charged  on 

The  flint-clifted  ramparts,  that  awfully  stand 

Repelling  their  furious  assaults  on  the  land, 

While  the  dense,  showering  spray  hissed  and  whirled  to  and 

fro, 
Whitening  all  the  wide  coast  with  the  clouds  of  its  snow. 
Now  they  gather  and  boil  at  the  rock's  iron  foot, 
Then,  like  screaming  ghosts,  up  to  the  headland  they  shoot ; 
Now  downward  they  dance,  tearing  all  in  their  way, 
Flogging  boulder  and  crag  with  their  white  whips  of  spray ! 
Then  up,  with  mad  vengeance,  they  thunder  again, 
Roaring,  wrestling,  to  pull  the  cliffs  into  the  main  ! 
Here  they  shriek  into  chinks  —there  they  bellow  in  caves, 
As  if  seeking  some  victims  to  drag  to  their  graves  ! 
Now  they  foam,  flash  and  leap,  dance  and  shout  o'er  the  reef, 
Like  retreating  clans  calling  for  aid  to  their  chief ; 
Then  onward,  with  mighty  reinforcements  of  foam, 
Up  the  jagg'd  shelves,  like  hoarse-howling  demons,  they  come 
Again,  with  a  fierce  yell  of  wrath,  they  sweep  down, 
Like  an  army  repulsed  from  the  walls  of  a  town  1 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  313 

The  Lord  of  Dunlica  was  cruizing  all  day, 

When,  an  hour  before  sunset,  he  captured  a  p  rey : 

A  rich  English  merchant,  whose  freight,  we  are  told, 

Was  worth  twenty  thousand  bright  pieces  of  gold  ; 

But  a  war-frigate  swept  on  the  Pirate-Chief's  track, 

Threw  open  her  ports,  and  commenced  the  attack  ; 

And  Cean  Dhu's  guns,  in  a  moment,  replied, 

And  gave  the  brave  foe  a  destructive  broadside  ! 

In  shrill,  whistling  splinters  the  riven  planks  flew, 

Where  the  fiery  shot  tore,  killing  nine  of  the  crew — 

Night  shadow'd  the  main,  as  the  combat  began, 

Yet  the  iron-destruction,  from  ship  to  ship  ran, 

Rending  bulwark  and  hull,  till  each  blood-painted  deck 

Was  strewn  with  dead  trunks  and  encumber'd  with  wreck  ! 

In  rapid  succession  the  quick  lurid  blaze 

Of  the  cannon  appear'd  thro'  the  deep  ocean-haze ; 

And  ruin's  dread  thunder-boom  followed  each  flash, 

Then  the  ringing  oak  shriek' d  to  the  balls'  hollow  crash  ; 

The  tempest  leapt  down  from  its  empire  of  gloom ' 

And  plough'd  the  dark  sea  into  ridges  of  foam ; 

And  the  militant  vessels  were  whirl'd  away, 

(Ere  the  combat  was  o'er),  thro'  the  mists  of  the  spray  ; 

While  the  fearless  Cean  Dhu  looks  around  him,  to  view 

The  reeking  destruction  of  half  his  fierce  crew ! 

The  bodies  were  flung  in  one  seething  grave,  white, 

And  the  sharks  feasted  well  on  the  spoils  of  the  fight. 

Yet  the  Pirate  Chief  still  is  the  lord  of  the  tide, 

And  he  speeds  away  home  to  his  proud  ocean-bride  ; 

With  his  tatter' d  sails  reefed,  and  his  bulwarks  ball-riven, 

Right  on  towards  Dunlica  the  Sea-Chief  is  driven ; 

And  he  stands  on  the  high  poop,  as  fixed  as  a  tower, 

'Mid  the  storm's  hoarse  shout  and  the  spray's  bursting  shower, 

He  has  yet  to  contend  with  a  f oeman  more  dire — 

Hark!  the  cry  <$¥  his  sailors — "  The  ship  is  on  fire  !" 

Up  leapt  the  dread  blaze,  with  its  black  plume  of  smoke, 

From  cabin  and  berth  o'er  the  charred  deck  it  broke  ; 

To  curb  its  advance  every  effort  is  vain, 

The  ship,  like  a  volcano,  flamed  on  the  main ! 

''Lower  the  boat!"  yelled  the  chief,  "  ere  the  quick  flames 

invade 
The  deep  magazine,  where  the  powder  is  laid  !" 
The  boat's  lower'd  and  mann'd,  but  the  turbulent  waves, 
'Gainst  the  side  of  the  burning  ship,  dashed  it  to  staves  ; 
Six  stout  hands  went  down,  in  a  whirlpool  of  foam, 
Interred  in  its  fathomless  abyss  of  gloom. 
The  red  conflagration  is  lord  of  the  ship, 
And  the  rest  of  the  sailors  have  plunged  in  the  deep, 
For  they  knew,  tho'  the  wild  ocean's  mercy  was  small, 
The  dread  tyrant,  fire,  had  no  mercy  at  all ; 
21 


314  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND 

And  they  sunk,  one  by  one,  in  their  struggles  o'erpower'd, 
In  the  gulf  of  the  mad  waves,  like  atoms,  devour'd  ! 
But  the  lord  of  the  pirates  is  still  on  the  deck, 
Alone,  with  the  fire-fiend,  disputing  the  wreck ; 
And  he  look'd  as  undaunted  and  calm,  at  that  hour, 
As  if  seated  at  ease  in  Dunlica's  strong  tower ; 
For  his  was  a  spirit  that  bravely  would  bear, 
But  not  bend  to  the  doom  he  no  longer  could  dare 
And  he  firmly  and  valiantly  welcomed  his  fate, 
When  hope  was  no  more  and  resistance  too  late. 

But,  what  are  the  thoughts  of  brave  Cean  Dhu  now, 

As  he  stands  on  the  poop,  with  his  hand  on  his  brow  ? 

He  is  thinking  of  her  who  is  waiting,  in  vain, 

To  welcome  him  home  from  his  ride  on  the  main ; 

And  the  eye  of  his  mind  sees  her  stand  at  the  board, 

Filling  up  the  rich  "meaner" of  wine  for  her  lord, 

With  her  queenly  eyes  anxiously  turn'd  towards  the  door, 

Expecting  the  chief — doom'd  to  see  her  no  more  ! 

But  she,  from  the  cold  cliff,  looks  out  on  the  wave, 

Where  he,  on  a  fiery  bier,  drifts  to  his  grave. 

But  the  blaze  of  the  ship  is  beheld  from  the.  strand, 

Like  a  large  meteor-lamp  in  a  Sea-spirit's  hand  ; 

And  Una  has  seen  the  red,  shuddering  rays, 

Which  shot  o'er  the  surf,  from  the  eye  of  the  blaze. 

"Tis  his  bark — and   on    fire!"   she  exclaimed,     and   up- 
sprung, 
From  her  shoulders  the  golden-fringed  "fulluinn"  she  flung, 
And  rushed  to  the  tower  where,  at  once,  to  her  call, 
Two  seamen,  dark-featured,  rush'd  out  from  the  hall ; 

"  Give  my  skiff  to  the  surge — let  your  best  oars  be  mann'd 
She  said — towards  the  burning  ship  waving  her  hand  ; 
Her  order's  obey'd — soon  the  canoe  was  borne 
Where  the  waves  to  the  sea-brink  a  passage  had  worn. 
O'er  the  black  crags  she  follow'd,  as  agile  and  free 
As  the  white  gulls  that  shoot  round  the  rim  of  the  sea ; 
While  the  hearts  of  the  ocean-sons  quailed  at  the  roar 
Of  the  breakers,  whose  thunder-crash  shook  the  dark  shore. 
Thrice  the  squalls  struck  them  down  at  the  cliffs  flinty  base, 
And  the  serpent-tongued  lightning  spat  fire  in  their  face  ! 
Still  Una  her  pressing  command  sternly  gave 
To  strike  out,  with  the  dancing  retreat  of  the  wave. 
The  lady  is  seated  her  rowers  beside  ; 
Off  they  shoot,  with  the  sweeping  recoil  of  the  tide, 
And  they  rapidly  bound  o'er  the  surf's  whirling  banks, 
Like  a  war-charger  spurr'd  thro'  the  battle's  deep  ranks. 
Now  down  in  the  gulf  of  the  billows  they  steer  ; 
Now  high  on  their  summits  they  spring,  like  a  deer ; 
Away,  'mid  the  roaring  of  surges  and  wind, 
They  dash,  while  the  coast  mcMs  in  darkness  behind. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  315 

* '  Pull  steady,  my  men !  lest  the  waves'  furious  leap 
Catch  your  oars,  and  upturn  our  boat  in  the  deep  ; — 
Pull  stronger  and  quicker!"  she  said,  and  back  roll'd 
From  her  brow  to  her  shoulders  her  cloudlets  of  gold. 
Bending  fast  to  their  strokes,  the  tough  ash  oars  they  strain, 
And  the  skiff,  like  a  bird,  seem'd  to  fly  o'er  the  main. 
Swift-cleaving  the  foam,  they  dash'd  onward,  and  came 
Near  the  ship,  grandly  trimm'd  with  her  garment  of  flame. 
The  three  mighty  elements — fire,  wind,  and  sea,— 
Battled  fierce  round  that  gaunt  wreck,  demanding  their  prey  ; 
And  the  surf  o'er  the  crackling  deck  madly  leapt  in, 
But  the  rebel-flames  rallied  and  flash'd  up  again, 
Glaring  luridly  down  on  each  breaker's  white  head, 
And  tinging  the  clouds,  with  a  dark-flitting  red. 
Now  out  from  the  black  ports  they  curl  o'er  the  brine  ; 
Now  up  the  tall  main-mast,  like  serpents,  they  twine 
While  the  ropes,  from  the  yard-arms,  swinging  on  high, 
Like  blazing  brands,  toss'd  their  red  ends  in  the  sky ; 
And  the  broad,  flaming  wings  of  the  lurid  sails  shone, 
Like  fiery  clouds  toss'd  o'er  the  tempest-fiend's  throne, 
While  their  bright  burning  shreds,  by  the  howling  blast  torn, 
O'er  the  gloom  of  the  waters,  like  meteors,  were  borne. 

The  skiff  danced  along  on  the  flame's  golden  line, 

That  quiver'd  and  curv'd  o'er  the  turbulent  brine : 

And  Una  has  sounded  a  signal  sea-horn, 

Whose  note  to  the  ear  of  her  chieftain  was  borne  ; 

He  knew  that  wild  sound,  and  he  look'd  o'er  the  flood  ; — 

Up  leapt,  with  new  spirit,  the  springs  of  his  blood, 

As  he  saw  his  brave  lady's  skiff  bounding  in  sight, 

Where  the  blaze  zoned  the  sea  with  a  red  ring  of  light. 

She  sees  on  the  high  poop  his  dim,  ghostly  form, 

Like  a  phantom  of  ruin  called  up  by  the  storm, 

And  where  the  chief  stood  on  his  dread  ocean-pyre, 

Was  the  only  dark  spot  yet  untouch'd  by  the  fire. 

Haste !  haste ! — gallant  chief,  death  to  seize  thee  is  slow ! 

The  flames  are  surrounding  the  powder  below ; 

One  short  minute  more,  and  those  red  planks  shall  fly, 

With  a  volcanic  roar,  thro'  the  shrill-ringing  sky ! 

His  fate  has  been  cheated — one  moment's  delay — 

He  look'd  on  the  fire,  and  he  looked  on  the  sea ; 

And,  dashing  his  shaggy-hemm'd  "cochal"  aside, 

He  plunged,  like  a  spear,  in  the  foam-sheeted  tide, 

Fair  Una's  white  arms  are  stretch'd  to  receive 

Her  lord,  as  he  rose  on  the  swell  of  the  wave  : 

One  prayer  to  Saint  Sinan, — and  gallant  Cean  Dim 

Is  safe,  with  his  spouse,  in  the  sable  canoe ; 

And  away  to  the  coast  they  are  shooting  again, 

With  a  strong,  steady  stroke,  sweeping  o'er  the  dark  main. 

But  where  is  the  foeman  that  fought  him  at  eve, 

Ere  the  tempest  provoked  the  white  wrath  of  the  wave  ? 


316  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

He  is  near,  with  reefed  sails,  looking  on,  with  grim  joy, 
At  the  doom  of  the  brave  ship  that  blazed  to  the  sky, 
And  he  sees,  by  the  flame's  ruddy  shimmer,  the  skiff 
Bounding  off,  thro'  the  foam,  towards  Dunlica's  dark  cliff  : 
Quick,  the  long  boat  is  mann'd  for  a  desperate  pursuit, 
And  away  on  the  track  of  the  pirate  they  shoot : 
They  fired  thro'  the  gloom,  and  the  hot  balls  were  sent 
Thro'  the  mist  of  the  spray  where  the  gallant  skiff  went ; 
But  death's  leaden  heralds  at  random  hiss'd  by 
The  fearless  Cean  Dhu,  yet  not  destined  to  die, 
"  They  are  fast  gaining  on  us ! "  fair  Una  replied, 
"  Pull  quick  for  the  cave  where  the  sea-monsters  hide !  "* 
But  scarce  had  the  words  from  her  trembling  lips  pass'd, 
When  a  broad  surge  of  flame  o'er  the  ocean  was  cast : 
Night  gather'd  her  black  robe  aside,  to  give  room 
To  the  blaze  that,  a  moment,  invaded  her  gloom ; 
And  up  to  the  heavens  that  burning  ship  sprung, 
While  the  vault  of  the  stars  with  a  thunder- crash  rung  ; 
And  the  waves  seem'd  to  quail  in  their  mighty  career, 
And  stoop  their  gray  heads,  as  if  smitten  with  fear  ! 
That  wreck's  blazing  fragments  were  hurl'd  on  high, 
Like  ten  thousand  fire-rockets  flung  up  to  the  sky ; 
Then,  like  red  brands  from  heaven  flung  down  to  the  main, 
The  flame-showers  flashed  back  to  the  waters  again. 

Right  into  the  deep  hollow  womb  of  the  cave 

Leapt  the  skiff,  thro'  the  rage  of  the  rock-cleaving  wave  ; 

The  explosion's  fierce  lightning-flash  showed  them  the  way 

To  that  horrid  cave's  craggy  mouth  foaming  with  spray. 

The  enemy,  headlong  pursuing  the  chief, 

Dashed  into  the  breakers  that  danced  on  the  reef ; 

The  boat  on  the  rock's  point  was  smash'd,  like  a  clod, 

And  the  crew  buried  deep  in  the  whirl  of  the  flood. 

Cean  Dhu  to  his  sea-towerf  has  gone,  with  his  spouse, 

And  the  board  is  prepared  for  a  glorious  carouse  ; 

The  harper,  MacDarry,  is  tuning  the  wire 

To  a  brave  song  of  valor,  the  feast  to  inspire. 

Cean  Dhu  drank  a  bowl  to  the  health  of  his  bride, 

And  another  to  those  who  lay  cold  in  the  tide ; 

Then  he  whirl'd  his  proud  wife  by  the  white  hand  around, 

And  he  caper'd  away  to  the  music's  wild  sound. 

Round  her  fair  shoulders  floated  her  curls,  golden-brown, 

One  hand  by  her  kirtle  swung  gracefully  down  ; 

And  her  steps  seem'd  so  buoyant  and  lightly  to  fall, 

That  they  scarce  stirr'd  a  rush  on  the  floor  of  the  hall : 

*  The  cavern  alluded  to  was  hollowed  by  the  sea  under  the'cliffs  of  Dunlica. 
The  monsters  of  the  deep  seek  shelter  there  during  the  winter  seasons,  and 
often,  in  that  dark  retreat,  they  were  attacked  and  slain  by  the  hardy  fisher- 
men, of  the  neighbouring  coast. 

t  "While  correcting  this  poem  I  have  been  informed  that  a  great  part  of 
the  venerable  castle  has  fallen  to  the  ground. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  317 

While  he,  like  a  wild  steed  by  bridle  ne'er  bound, 

Made  the  echoes  ring  up  from  the  heart  of  the  ground ; 

For  he  danced,  like  his  ship  to  the  tune  of  the  storm, 

Till  his  swarthy  brow  steam' d  with  big  drops,  reeking  warm  : 

'Twas  a  grand  gala  night  for  the  Sea-Chief  on  shore, 

But  the  dawn  of  the  dark  wave  beheld  him  once  more. 


THE  FATE  OF  MAHON  AND  EILEEN. 

A  LEGEND  OF  o'CEARNEIGH. 

I  learned  an  olden  legend,  in  the  green  halls  of  the  wood, 
Where  the  misty -border'd  Raite*  pours  the  glory  of  its  flood  ; 
With  the  shadow'd  meadows  slanting  to  the  tide-bank's  reedy 

fringe, 
And  the  blue-faced  mountains  looking  on  the  moorland's  russet 

tinge. 

The  dawn-dews  roll'd  their  silvery  rings  around  each  blossom'd 

thorn, 
That  stood,  like  snow-clouds,  in  the  fence  before  the  glow  of 

morn; 
When  a  brown-eyed  peasant-maiden,  as  she  milk'd  her  white 

striped  cow,  % 

In  the  birch-grove's  emerald  vista,  told  the  tale  I'm  telling  now. 

Cearnighe'sf  lily-footed  daughter  was  Temora's  stateliest  dame, 
Ere  the  red,  marauding  Norman  to  our  holy  valleys  came  ; 
Like  a  brier-rose,  by  a  field-rill,  in  her  wild,  bright  beauty  grew, 
The  valley's  dark-eyed  huntress,  marble-handed  Eileen  Dhu. 

Like  a  golden  veil,  her  ringlets  might  have  touch'd  her  waxen 

feet, 
As  the  clouds  that  form  the  sunbow,  curling  o'er  two  specks  of 

sleet, 
On  a  Spring-hill's  morning  forehead,  when  the  glistening  beads 

of  rain 
Drop,  like  gemlets,  thro'  the  white  haze  on  the  green  lap  of  the 

plain. 

The  rich-soul'd  songs  of  Eire  to  the  cruit-wires  she  sung, 
With  the  wild  heart-melting  passion  of   the  flowery  Celtic 

tongue ; 
Her  life  was  as  the  desert  air  that  wanders  where  it  will, 
Freshen'd  with  the  scent  of  blossoms  and  the  sweet  thyme  of 

the  hill. 

*  The  River  Raite,  from  whichBunratty  derives  its  name ;  it  is  also  called 
the  O'Cearneigh, 

t  The  O'Cearnighes,  or  O'Kearneys,  were  lords  of  a  territory  bordering 
the  above  river,  beyond  Six-Mile-Bridge. 


318  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Who  was  comelier,  in  the  valley,  than  the  flame-eyed  Mahon 

Roe? 
'Mong  ten  thousand  stately  warriors  the   young  giant-chief 

you'd  know ; 
Torlogh's  battle-bands  of  Connaught,*  well  his  arm  of  terror 

knew, 
As  the  field-birds  know  the  eagle  when  he  hovers  in  their  view. 

Like  the  gale  upon  the  waters,  was  his  footstep  in  the  race, 
Like  a  frost-star  crossing  heaven,  was  his  spear-head  in  the 

chase ; 
And  he  tower'd  above  the  war-surge,   like  a  billow-cleaving 

skiff, 
Looking  proudly,  as  the  osprey  on  a  thunder-riven  cliff. 

He  saw  the  fawn-like  Eileen,  gentle-eyed  and  radiant-brow'd, 
And  his  soul  before  the  altar  of  her  angel-beauty  bow'd  ; 
While  she  felt  her  heart-depths  thrilling,  like  the  April  song 

of  streams, 
When  he  stood,  at  pensive  midnight,   in    the   vista   of  her 

dreams. 

For  her  he  drew  the  red  trout  from  the  Raite's  steep-bank'd 
flood, 

When  mopiing's  golden  finger  tipp'd  the  green  brow  of  the 
wood; 

For  her  he  brought  the  young  roes  from  the  mountain- 
ravine  down, 

And  the  nuts  of  fragrant  kernel  from  the  hazel's  branchy 
crown. 

He  taught  her  how  to  bend  the  yew,  with  steady,  practised 

skill, 
Till  she  shot  the  circling  plover  as  they  wheel'd  around  the 

hill; 
He  taught  her,  in  the  mountain- wilds,  to  hit  the  flying  deer, 
'Till  her  young  heart  knew  no  rapture  but  while  Mahon  Roe 

was  near. 

But  there  wander' d  in  the  bosom  of  the  forest  of  Glengael, 
A  mighty  hind  that  long   defied   the    hunter's  hounds  and 

steel ; 
And  a  legend  of  this  great  hind  to  the  Seanachies  was  known, 
That  the   hunter  who  would   slay   her,    would  be  lord  o 

Munster's  throne. 

An4  many  a  wild  aspirant,  with  a  passion  to  appear 
In  the  trappings  of  an  Ard  Righ,f   chased   this   phantom 
year  by  year ; 

*  Torlogh  ft' Connor,  King  of  Connaught,  and  Torlogh  O'Brien,  King  of 
Munster,  were,  about  that  time,  at  deadly  feud,  -which  ended  in  the  terrific 
battle  of  Moinmor,  where  the  power  of  both  prorinces  was  almost  destroyed. 
See  a  description  of  the  fight  at  page  68. 

t  High  King. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF   TIIOMOND.  319 

But  their  nimble  hounds  of  swiftness  and  their  steeds,  like 

desert-wind, 
Were  outstripp'd  and  blindly  baffled  by  the  lightning-footed 

hind. 

And  many  a  sore  disaster  were  the  huntsmen  made  to  feel — 
Fractured    limbs   and   aching    bruises    which   no   liniments 

could  heal ; 
Till,  vanquish'd  and  despairing,  they  shunned  the  forest-gloom, 
And  the  red  hind  still  was  monarch  of  her  leafy  desert-home. 

Eileen  learned  the  wondrous  legend,  and  a  dream  of  power  and 

fame, 
To  the  chamber  of  her  spirit,  like  a  dazzling  vision,  came  ; 
And  she  told  her  heart-led  lover  he  would  rise  to  be  a  king, 
If  the  trophies  of  the  red   hind   from   the   desert   he  would 

bring  ! 

And  she  pledged  her  faith  to  wed  him   on   the   evening  of 

the  day, 
When  his  conquering  spear  of  brightness  the  enchanted  hind 

would  slay ; 
More,  she  promised  to  go  with  him  to  the  dark  and  dreaded 

place, 
To  partake  the  pleasant  perils  of  the  wild,  exciting  chase. 

With  quick  assent,  young  Mahon*  to  the  maiden's  counsel 
bent, 

While  her  voice,  like  fairy  music,  to  his  fiery  heart-springs 
went ; 

And  his  wild  eyes  flash'd,  with  gladness,  like  the  sudden- 
bursting  blaze 

Of  a  sunbeam  on  the  river,  thro'  the  March-sky's  melting 
haze. 

Morning  walks  upon  the  mountain,  with  a  burning  foot  of 

gold, 
And  the  wood-gales  shake  the  perfume  from  the   blossom's 

rosy  fold ; 
The  white-dew  fall  on  the  hill-side,  like  a   beach  of  pearl, 

shines, 
And  the   Spring-clouds,    o'er    the    star-vault,    spread  their 

glowing  silver  lines. 

From  his  mystic  house  of  honey,  in  the  thyme-bank's  mossy 
knee, 

Taking  tribute  of  the  wild  flowers,  wings  the  summer- 
loving  bee ; 

*  "  This  chief  is  supposed  to  be  one  of  the  Mahon  family  of  Clonoon,  near 
Corofin.  Clonoon  Castle  is  situated  in  the  parish  of  Kilkeedy,  barony  of 
Inchiquin.  In  1586,  it  was  besieged  and  dismantled  by  Sir  Richard 
Bingham,  who  gave  the  garrison  no  quarter  " — Annals  of  Thomond. 


320  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

In  a  dance   of  glistening  crystal,    down  the  crags   the  hill- 
founts  run, 
And  the  lark  is  at  his  music  in  the  palace  of  the  sun. 

Early    moved  young  dark-eyed  Eileen  by   the  oak   wood's 
breezy  side,  . 

And  Mahon  Roe,  as  early,  marked  the  white  plain,  with  his 

She,   with  bow  and  beaming  arrows,  he,  with  hounds  and 

hunting  spear, 
Which,  in  wild  Moyarta's  greenwood,  brought  down  many  a 

stately  deer. 

Away  they  go  together  thro'  the  shadow-checker'd  wold, 
Where  the  valley's  sylvan  moss-lawns  spread  their  spangled 

beds  of  gold; 
Four  attendants  move  behind  them,  with  the  leash  d  dogs  m 

their  care, 
And  snowy  oiser-baskets  fill'd  with  fruits  and  wholesome  tare. 

To  the  forest's  branchy  centre,  where  the  fragrant  sorrel  grew, 
They  advanced,  ere  day's  red  noonbeam  drank  the  heath- 

bell's  chaliced  dew^  * 
And  Mahon's  eyes,  like'fire-darts,  pierced  the  gloom  on  every 

side, 
Till  beneattfa  great  oak,  resting,  the  majestic  hmd  he  spied. 

"Oh,  by  all  the  saints  in  Erin!"  cried  the  young  chief,  with 

delight, 
"Look  you  yonder,  lovely  Eileen!  there's  our  royal  game  in 

sight!  . 

'Tis  by  statagem,  my  fair  one,   we  must  chance  to  bring  her 

down ! 
Else  thy  head  of  pretty  ringlets  shall  not  wear  a  queenly  crown ! 

"Gentle  Eileen !  beauteous  Eileen !  if  you  ever  bent  a  bow, 
With  a  true  aim,  quick  and  steady,  be  your  shaft  unerring 

now! 
Thro'  the  shades  I'll  steal  upon  her,  while  you,  dark-eyed  hun- 

tress '  here 
Slip  the  hounds,'  and  wing  your  arrows,  if  I  miss  her,  with  my 

spear!" 

As  noiseless  as  a  mist-wreath,  thro'  the  shadows  Mahon  stole, 
While  Eileen's  bosom  quiver'd  with  the  tremblings  of  her  soul ; 
The  great  hind  raised  her  forehead,  snufFd  the  air,  and  stared 

about,  i  '    >  j 

As  Mahon,  on  her  red  haunch,  with  his  lifted  steel  leap  d  out. 

From  her  resting-place,  uprushing,  flew  the  hind,  with  mighty 

bounds, 
From  the  leash,  with  one  shrill  blood-yell,  right  against  her 

leapt  the  hounds ; 


LAYS   AND    LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  321 

Like  a  streak  of  blue  flame,  hissing,  glanced  a  shaft  from 

Eileen's  bow, 
Grazed  the  hind,  and  deeply  entered  the  white  neck  of  Mahon 

Roe. 

Thro'  the  green-wood's  dark  recesses,  fast  the  red  hind  disap- 
peared, 

And  the  noble  chief  of  Clonoon  lay  expiring  on  the  sward ; 

While  Eileen,  bending  o'er  him,  spoke  no  word,  nor  tore  her 
hair, 

For  her  freezing  heart  was  riven  with  the  death-pangs  of  de- 
spair. 

Paled  the  rose-hue  on  his  bright  cheek,  and  his  fading  eye  be- 
trayed 

How  his  soul  in  pity  melted  for  the  anguish  of  the  maid  ; 

With  affectionate  forgiveness  did  he  murmur  Eileen's  name, 

While  she  shudder' d,  like  a  willow,  with  the  grief  that  tore 
her  frame. 

And  when  the  mourners  gather'd,  with  the  death-song  and  the 

tear, 
And  the  maids  laid  forest  wild-flowers,  with  a  heart-sob,  on 

his  bier ; 
Eileen,  silent  as  a  phantom,  with  white  cheek  and  frigid  eye, 
Moved  among  the  lonely  wailers,  without  murmur,  tear,  or 

sigh. 

And  when  the  dust  lay  o'er  him  in  the  bed  which  knows  no 

dream, 
All  his  lonely  paths  she  haunted,  by  wild  hill  and  sounding 

stream ; 
And  her  sered  soul  hugg'd  its  anguish,  with  a  death-grasp 

strong  and  deep — 
Oft  in  prayer  she  pour'd  her  sorrow,  but  was  never  known  to 

weep. 

And  the  bright  days  of  the  Spring-time,  in  their  beauty  stole 
along, 

With  their  wealth  of  vernal  sweetness,  and  their  gushing  sun 
and  song, 

Till  the  yellow  stains  of  autumn  on  the  misty  landscape  lay, 

And  the  meadow-lawns  were  honied  with  the  breath  of  new- 
mown  hay. 

And  Eileen  knew  her  death-hour,  for  a  sister-spirit  stole 
From  the  shining  fields  of  heaven,  with  a  message  to  her  soul ; 
And  she  sought,  when  evening  crimson'd  dusky  moor  and  river 

side, 
The  blood-spot  in  the  desert  where  her  noble  Mahon  died.  , 


322  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Down  she  lay  beneath  a  hazel  where  his  dying  head  was  laid, 
Her  heart  unchained  its  sorrow,   and  she  wildly  wept  and 

pray'd ; 
Weirdly,  on  her  spirit-features,  gleam'd  the  red  light  of  the 

west, 
And  the  yellow  boughs  above  her  dropp'd  their  sere  leaves  on 

her  breast. 

Slowly  throbb'd  her  cold  heart-pulses,  and  her  fever'd  ravings 

drew 
Wildest  images  of  beauty,  to  her  dreaming  fancy  new ; 
And  she  saw  young  Mahon  o'er  her,  in  a  diamond  cloud  of  light, 
Breathing  words,  like  fairy  love-songs,  in  the  moonlight  calm 

of  night. 

Pass'd  the  glory  from  her  vision,  and  a  dense,  dull,  darkening 

chill 
Lock'd  her  senses  in  its  ice-grip,  and  the  vital  pulse  stood  still ; 
With  a  breath  her  white  lips  parted,  with  that  breath,  her  grief 

is  o'er — 
Earth  hath  one  breaking  heart  the  less,  and  heaven  one  angel 

more. 


A  VISION  OF  THE  BATTLE  OF  TOR-CONAINN.* 
a.m.  3066. 

'Twas  midnight, — and  the  ghostly  blast 

Swept  the  frosty  woods,  with  a  cadence  sharp, 
Like  some  Spirit-bard  of  the  shadowy  Past, 

Touching  the  wires  of  a  regal  harp. 
Long  time  I  listened — for  I  love  the  croon 

Of  the  wintry  squalls,  in  the  wood's  dark  arch, 
Like  a  band  of  Spirits,  to  some  mystic  tune, 

Passing  along  on  their  gloomy  march. 

Sleep  seal'd  my  eyes, — and  my  soul  walked  forth 

To  the  vision-realm  of  airy  things  ; 
And  methought  I  traversed  the  cloudy  North, 

In  the  days  of  the  great  Nemedian  kings : 

*  The  Nemedians  and  Fomorians  were  the  first  races  that  fought  for 
mastery  in  Ireland.  The  Fomorians,  after  several  defeats,  succeeded  in 
bringing  the  Nemedians  under  their  yoke ;  the  latter  made  a  desperate  hut 
fruitless  struggle  to  free  themselves.  The  last  and  most  terrific  battle  of 
these  contending  tribes  was  fought  at  a  place  called  Tor-Conainn,  on  the 
coast  of  Donegal,  where  the  tide,  flowing  in  on  the  combatants  during  the 
heat  of  the  action,  drowned  almost  all  that  the  sword  spared  of  both  armies. 
Only  thirty-three  of  the  Nemedians  escaped,  and  abandoned  the  country  in 
a  sloop.  The  remnant  of  the  Fomorians  swam  to  their  shipping,  and  became 
masters  of  the  Island.  Some  annalists  say  they  were  African  pirates.  The 
Giant's  Causeway  was  called  by  the  ancient  Irish  "  Cloghanna  Fomharigh," 
i.e.,  the  stepping-stones  of  the  Fomorians. 

Mr.  Aubrey  de  Vere,  in  his  "  Lyrical  Chronicle  of  Ireland,"  gives  a  very 
vigorous  but  short  poem  on  this  remarkable  engagement. 


LAYS   AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  323 

And  I  saw  those  huge  men,  of  gigantic  might, 
,  To  whom  the  pale  sons  of  these  clays  of  tears, 
Are  as  shrubs,  compared  to  the  bulk  and  height 
Of  the  kingly  elms  of  a  hundred  years. 

Like  the  brown-plumed  chiefs  of  the  aerial  race, 

They  gazed  at  the  sun,  with  unwinking  eyes ; 
Their  shaggy  robes  were  the  spoils  of  the  chase, 

And  they  spoke  like  the  waves  when  the  winds  arise. 
The  oak  and  the  pine  from  the  woods  they  tore, 

And  built  great  houses  of  rough-hewn  beams ; 
Huge  clubs  and  maces  in  battle  they  bore, 

And  their  eye-balls,  like  suns,  seem'd  to  swim  in  flames. 

But  another  race  to  the  Island  came — 

A  race  of  Sea-Kings,  as  fierce  as  sharks — 
From  the  arid  land  of  the  sands  of  flame, 

They  rode  the  green  seas  in  a  hundred  barks. 
Dread  pirates,  of  mountain-strength,  were  they : 

Their  voices  were  rude  as  a  cascade's  roar  : 
Their  bones  were  like  crags  by  the  cliff-rimm'd  sea, 

And  their  beards,  like  bristles  of  the  fierce  wild  boar. 

Fomorians,  those  pine-like  chiefs  were  named, 

In  the  misty  annals  of  Eire's  lore : 
Oppression  and  death  were  at  once  proclaimed, 

By  their  ruthless  deeds,  when  they  gained  the  shore. 
They  robb'd  the  Nemedians  of  corn  and  kine, 

And  burn'd  their  houses,  and  tax'd  their  ground  j 
They  ravish' d  the  women,  and  left  the  black  sign 

Of  ruin  and  crime  on  the  plains  around. 

In  the  land  there  was  fearful  rage  and  hate 

Between  the  races — 'tis  still  the  same ; — 
Remorseless  plunder  and  sore  defeat, 

Steel-handed  injustice  and  blood-brow'd  shame. 
Ne'er,  in  the  Island  of  Eire,  met  foes 

More  ferocious  in  spirit,  and  deed,  and  thought : 
Red  rapine  walked  naked — mad  wars  arose — 

And  fierce,  savage  battles  were  daily  fought. 

Till,  at  length,  Nemedius,  the  king,  grew  weak 

As  a  dwindling  stream,  when  the  fiery  sky 
Drinks  up  the  blue  currents  of  well  and  lake, 

And  leaves  the  white  bed  of  the  fountain  dry  : 
Then  he  stole  to  the  forest  of  Olean  Ard, 

With  two  thousand  followers,  women  and  men, 
And  he  died  of  the  sickness  of  grief,  on  the  hard, 

Cold,  sterile  rocks  of  the  Giant's  Glen. 

But  his  furious  sons  muster'd  all  their  bands 
Into  one  great  army,  at  dead  of  night ; 


324  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  they  braced  their  bucklers  and  edged  their  brands, 
To  meet  their  oppressors  in  manly  fight : 

And  their  leaders  were  Boetagh  and  Fatach,  grim 
As  hungry  bears  in  a  blasted  wood  ; 

Earglan  and  Mantan,  mighty  of  limb, 
Of  cliff- like  stature  and  lightning-blood  ! 

Their  arms  were  as  the  strong  pillars  of  flint, 

Round  the  dark  north  shore,  by  the  scourging  brine  ; 
And  they  wielded  spears  of  enormous  length, 

Like  the  branchless  shafts  of  the  fire-scorched  pine. 
They  camp'd  all  night  by  the  white  sea- wave, 

Thirty  thousand,  along  the  strand, 

And  heaven  was  their  tent,  and  their  couch  the  sand— 
The  sand  which  soon  was  to  be  their  grave. 

Large  oaken  trees  from  the  inland  wood 

They  brought  and  piled  by  the  ocean-flood ; 

And  all  night,  like  volcanoes  flaming  red, 

The  blaze  of  those  burning  piles  was  shed 
On  the  lurid  plumes  of  the  surges  gray, 

That  dirged  on  the  glimmering  shore  ; 
'Till  the  star-gloom  began  to  melt  away, 
And  the  misty  streak  of  the  coming  day 

Appear'd  thro'  the^vapours  hoar. 

Then  up  they  leapt  from  their  warrior-rest, 

Like  waves  awaked  by  a  sudden  storm ; 
For  the  wild  Fomorians  strongly  press'd 

Down  on  them,  as  thick  as  a  locust-swarm. 
And  the  whirlwind-hum  of  the  multitude 

Was  like  the  unearthly  tone 
Of  a  sullen  blast  in  a  wintry  wood, 
When,  from  the  blue  skirts  of  a  freezing  cloud, 

It  bursts,  with  a  spectral  moan. 
Like  wailing  spirits,  with  deep,  hoarse  shriek, 

The  waves  peal'd  awfully  in  and  out ; 
As  keeners,  at  some  high  chieftain's  wake,       » 

Sing  ajdirge  the  great  dead  about  ; 
While  dim,  in  the  cold  dawn's  dark-red  glance, 

The  heads  of  each  monster  host, 
In  gloomy,  .swaying  masses  advance, 

As  thick  as  the  pebbles  that  whirl  and  dance, 

When  a  wave  rakes  the  sounding  coast. 
The  murmur  ceased,  and  a  stillness,  dread, 

For  .an  instant,  fell  on  the  waving  crowds ; 
Then  a  sudden  shout,  that  might  rouse  the  dead 
From  a  century's  sleep  in  their  grass-pall'd  bed, 

Leapt  up  to  the  flying  clouds. 
Then  the  dark -brown  shore,  with  the  mighty  roar 

Of  the  combat,  rock'd,  like  a  trembling  board, 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  325 

As  crashingly  rang  the  tumultuous  clang 

Of  mace  and  javelin,  spear  and  sword. 
The  resounding  clash  was  like  the  dash 

Of  breakers  upon  some  huge  cliff's  hack, 
Or  some  drifting  bark,  in  the  wintry  dark, 

When  she  strikes  on  a  dread  reef,  a  bursting  wreck; 
And  the  quick,  shrill  peal  of  the  stricken  shields, 

With  the  stormy  shouts  of  the  slayers  rose, 
Like  the  ring  of  the  ice,  in  the  thawing  fields, 

When  the  gusty  south-wind  raves  and  blows. 
'Twas  a  battle  of  lions,  for  every  man 

Like  a  lion  fought,  and  the  sea-board  wild 
With  a  burning  billow  of  purple  ran, 

And  the  slain  fell  around,  like  great  pine- trunks  piled. 
Each  blow,  like  the  might  of  a  thunder-stroke, 

With  electric  swiftness,  dealt  instant  death  ; 
And  bodies  were  sunder'd,  and  stout  limbs  broke, 

Like  dry  shrubs  wrench'd  by  a  whirlwind's  breath. 
The  waves  leapt  in  on  the  redden'd  coast, 

And  tinged  their  gray  sheets,  with  a  ruddy  stain  ; 
The  osprey  scream'd,  like  an  evil  ghost, 

As  he  hover'd  and  hunger'd  above  the  slain ; 
While  the  wrathful  death-crash,  upon  the  strand, 

In  roaring  turmoil  surged  up  and  down, 
Thousands  of  mad  giants,  hand  to  hand, 

Grappling  and  severing  nerve  and  bone. 
And  fast  they  fell,  like  towers  o'erthrown, 

With  their  tall  brows  riven  and  broad  breasts  bare  ; 
While  around  them,  in  cloudy  masses  strown, 

Lay  their  blood-stained  clusters  of  long,  black  hair. 
They  fought  from  dawn,  till  the  yellow  noon 

In  the  bright,  blue  zenith  pour'd  its  golden  fire  ; 
Then,  like  volcanic  clouds  from  the  sea-side  blown, 
When  the  shore  with  terrific  wreck  was  strown, 
The  Fomorians,  wasted  and  feeble  grown, 

To  the  woods  began  to  retire. 
From  thousands  to  hundreds  their  host  was  thinn'd, 

And  they  flew,  like  elks,  to  the  forest-maze ; 
But  the  wild  Nemedians,  from  end  to  end, 
Surrounded  the  place  where  their  foes  were  denn'd ; 
Each  kindled  a  name,  like  a  raging  fiend, 

And  set  the  dark  woods  in  a  blaze. 

But  a  cry  rang  up  from  the  corpse-piled  shore, 
And  they  turn'd  their  eyes  to  the  gleaming  sea, 

Where  they  saw  a  hundred  barks,  and  more, 

With  their  white  wings  skimming  the  blue  brine  o'er, 
Towards  the  red  coast  cleaving  their  way. 

"Tis  the  fleet  of  More !"  cried  Briotan  Moal, 
"  With  his  armed  pirates,  from  Afric's  land  ! 

Now,  brothers,  and  brave  Nemedians  all, 


326  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OE  THOMOND 

Like  hurricane-fire  on  the  robbers  fall, 

If  they  touch  our  Island -strand !" 
Back  again  to  the  blood-dyed  coast, 
Embodied,  roll'd  the  Nemedian  host, 
As  the  ships  swam  into  Tor  Inis'  bay, 
Like  snow-clouds  drifting  along  the  sea. 

The  Fomorians  saw  the  wide  beach  lined 

With  their  fallen  kinsmen,  all  stark  and  dead  ; 
They  gnash'd  their  teeth — and  the  ocean-wind 

Was  loaded  with  yellings  of  vengeance  dread. 
Like  pillars  of  bronze,  the  Nemedians  stood 

On  the  reeking  verge  of  the  purple  main, 
And  fierce,  o'er  the  dash  of  the  dancing  flood, 

They  yelled  their  battle-whoop  back  again. 

The  ships  hove  in  to  the  bay's  brown  rim ; 

A  host  filled  the  decks,  with  unfolded  flags  ; 
From  the  shelving  shore  the  Nemedians  tore, 

And  hurl'd  at  the  vessels  the  broken  crags. 
Roar'd  bulwarks  and  masts,  with  the  flinty  shower, — 

Shatter'd  and  riven  were  plank  and  spar, 
While  the  whirling  rocks,  with  destructive  power, 

Like  thunder-bolts,  batter'd  that  fleet  of  war. 
Into  the  surf  the  Fomorians  plunged, 

With  wrathful  ho  wrings,  and  rush'd  to  land ; 
At  their  bold  foes'  bosoms  their  spears  were  lunged, 

As  madly  they  leapt  to  the  crowded  strand. 
But  fierce  and  furious — as  from  each  ship, 

Like  a  headlong  billow,  the  host  dash'd  in — 
Did  the  lightning-handed  Nemedians  sweep 

The  invaders  back  to  the  waves  again. 

Hast  thou  seen  a  cloud  of  the  Wind-God's  wrath 

Gathering  its  gloom  on  the  hill's  blue  brow  ? 
Hast  thou  heard  the  fire-fiend  proclaiming  death, 

From  that  cloud's  black  throne,  to  the  woods  below 
Hast  thou  heard,  in  the  glen,  on  a  stormy  night, 

How  the  torrent-surge  shrieks  in  its  boiling  bed  ? 
So  mingled  the  din  of  the  thickening  fight — 

So  the  surge  of  death  o'er  the  broad  beach  spread. 
Fast  as  polar  hail  smites  the  echoing  vale, 

Spears,  massive  clubs,  and  huge  rocks  were  plied, 
'Till  the  land-breeze  bore  from  the  pealing  shore 

A  blood-mist,  rolling  along  the  tide. 
Not  a  soul  in  the  empty  ships  remain'd — 

All  leapt  to  the  throng' d  coast,  weapon  in  hand, 
Where  the  raging  battle-hurricane  rain'd 

Its  smoking  showers  on  the  gore-bray' d  sand, 
And  the  slain  giants  lay  by  the  red-fringed  sea, 

Like  the  tangled  mass  of  a  prostrate  wood, 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND  327 

Flung  down  by  the  sway  of  an  earthquake's  play, 

Or  the  ravaging  might  of  a  desperate  flood. 
Still  the  war  surged  on,  with  a  demon-roar 

That  deafen' d  the  sea-billows'  deep-hoarse  ring  ; 
And  the  swooping  prey-birds,  that  snuff 'd  the  gore, 

Fled,  frighten 'd  away,  on  the  fleetest  wing. 
The  Nemedian  women  from  the  plains  rush'd  down — 

Their  large  eyes  glowing  with  fiery  light ; 
Their  long  hair  sweeping  their  shoulders  brown, 

And  strong  yew-bows  in  their  hands  grasp'd  tight : 
On  the  tall  Fomorians  their  arrows  swept, 

Like  a  flashing  torrent  of  lightning-flames, 
And  the  giants,  like  gall'd  wolves,  f oam'd  and  leapt 

As  the  barb'd  shafts  rooted  their  bleeding  frames. 
Nor  could  the  Nemedians  force  their  foes 

Back  into  the  gulf  of  the  reddening  main  ; 
Nor  could  the  Fomorians,  by  wounds  or  blows 

One  foot  of  the  crimson'd  sea-board  gain. 
Still  they  tore  the  crags  from  their  flinty  roots, 

And  crush'd  each  other  to  the  beaten  ground, 
While  their  mighty  roars,  like  furious  brutes, 

Made  the  echoes  rattle  and  shriek  around. 

The  sun  to  the  west  wheel'd  his  ring  of  fire — 

In  foam,  blood-purpled,  the  sea  rose  strong  : 
The  fight  grew  fiercer — the  tide  swell'd  higher — 

Swinging  the  dead  on  its  surge  along. 
The  hungry  monsters  of  the  sea, 

Plunged  into  the  beach  for  the  feast  of  blood, 
And  they  dragg'd  the  floating  corpses  away 

Out  into  the  depths  of  the  heaving  flood. 
Round  the  feet  of  the  slayers  the  tide  boil'd  red, 

But  the  tide  no  check  to  the  combat  brought ; 
Deeper  and  wider  the  wild  flood  spread, 

Faster  and  fiercer  the  armies  fought. 
Deadly  and  dire  was  the  desperate  crash 

Of  the  maniac-hosts 'mid  the  sea's  mad  swell; 
Rapid  and  hoarse  was  the  sounding  splash 

Of  the  bodies  that  thick  in  the  blood-surge  fell. 
Higher  and  higher,  the  sweeping  main, 

Flung  its  headlong  might  'mid  the  reckless  fray  ; 
And  the  waves,  as  if  chafing  with  fierce  disdain, 

In  the  warriors  eyes  spat  the  gore-stained  spray. 
Crowds  lock'd  in  each  other's  death-grips  fall, 

Immersed  in  the  gloom  of  their  cold  sea-beds, 
While  the  dark-red  foam,  like  a  mighty  pall, 

Hiss'd,  quiver'd,  and  boil'd  o'er  their  sinking  heads  ; 
'Till  each  billow,  returning  from  its  charge, 

Swept  off,  by  hundreds,  the  drowning  throng  ; 
And  the  sharks  o'er  the  surf  show'd  their  green  backs  large, 

As  they  greedily  feasted  the  coast  along. 


328  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

Few  and  feeble,  alas  !  were  they, 

That  survived  the  wreck  of  the  tide  and  sword 
The  Nemedians,  seaward,  drifted  away, 

In  a  pirate-sloop — thirty-three  on  board — 
The  wearied  Fomorians,  fifty-four, 

Swam  to  their  ships  in  the  dark-blue  bay  ; 
And  they,  sorrowing,  sail'd  round  the  Island-shore, 

At  the  sunset-hour  of  that  stormy  day. 
Never  was  human  life-blood  poured, 

In  such  vengeful  torrents,  on  flood  or  field  ; 
Never  in  battle  did  spear  or  sword 

A  deadlier  harvest  of  carnage  yield. 
Dire  was  the  wrath  of  those  ancient  races — 

Eire  was  the  prize  of  the  conquerors'  toil — 
Long  time  has  old  tribes  for  the  new  changed  places, 

With  a  blood-curse  red  on  her  rich,  green  soil. 


THE  FATAL  ENSIGN. 

A  LEGEND  OF  THE  BATTLE  OF  CLONTARF. 
PART  I. 

By  a  moss-cover'd  cromleach,  weird  Aidina*  stood, 
Near  the  fern-fringed  bed  of  a  wild  mountain-flood  : 
She  came  there  a  dread  incantation  to  weave, 
When  the  green  meteors  glared  o'er  the  Druid's  dark  grave. 

The  face  of  the  valley  was  dreary  and  bleak, 
And  the  lonely  moon  gleam'd  on  the  hill's  dusky  peak, 
WThere  a  sombre  cloud  hung,  like  a  giant's  black  plume, 
With  the  unborn  lightning  asleep  in  its  gloom. 

And  there,  from  the  mystical  lore  of  the  dead, 

The  fast- coming  doom  of  the  living  she  read  ; 

For  the  Vikings  had  taught  her  their  magical  power, 

To  commune  with  the  spectres  that  walk  the  night-hour. 

'Twas  a  calm,  yellow  night, — and  the  stars  look'd  as  grand 
As  the  diamonds  of  God  in  an  Archangel's  hand, — 
Yet  the  Sibyl's  deep  fate-reading  vision  beheld 
Red  omens  of  blood  o'er  Moynealta's  dark  field. t 

But  Sigurd,  her  son,  sought  the  vale,  dim  and  deep, 
When  the  white  midnight-haze  on  the  plain  lay  asleep  ; 
And  he  said  :  "  Let  the  weird  face  of  fate  be  unveil'd, 
To  tell  if  I'll  conquer  or  fall  in  the  field  !" 

*  The  Niala  Saga,  or  Norse  account  of  the  battle  of  Clontarf,  says  that 
Audna,  or  Aidina,  the  mother  of  Sigurd,  the  Viking  Chief,  was  an  Irish 
Princess,  and  a  great  adept  in  the  practice  of  magic.  The  fatal  Ensign  was 
woven  by  her  and  presented  to  her  son,  with  a  prophecy  that  he  would 
conquer  wherever  it  was  carried  before  him ;  but  it  would  be  fatal  to  the 
bearer.  On  its  field  was  the  form  of  a  raven  with  expanded  wings. 
Clontarf. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  329 

Then  she  cast  on  the  warrior  her  blue,  fairy  eyes, 
Which  gleam'd  like  the  light  of  the  misty  night-skies, 
And* answered  :  "My  sea-hawk,  I  nursed  you  too  long, 
If  you  fall  not  in  fight  while  your  manhood  is  strong  ! 

"There  are  ghosts  of  slain  warriors  in  Odin's  red  hall, 
Who,  younger  than  thou,  in  the  field  met  their  fall ; 
If  thou  would'st  to  that  cloudy  Valhalla  aspire, 
Let  thy  life  be  as  glorious  and  transient  as  fire  ! 

"  'Tis  the  Fates,  not  the  dangers,  that  wait  on  the  brave  ! — 
And  the  wail  of  the  blast,  o'er  a  young  hero's  grave, 
Is  sweeter  to  me,  in  its  hoarse  midnight  rage, 
Than  the  voice  of  a  king  in  the  time  of  his  age  ! 

"But  sit  thee,  my  war-eagle  !  here  on  the  heath, 
Till  I  bring  thee  a  gift  from  the  shadows  of  death, 
Before  whose  enchantment  thy  foes  shall  be  driven, 
Like  mists,  when  the  Wind-God  is  marching  thro'  heaven!" 

She  advanced  to  the  gloom-circled  crest  of  the  hill, 
Where  a  black  bank  of  vapour  lay  densely  and  still ; 
And  her  form  melted  into  its  deep,  ghastly  womb, 
Like  a  dim  spectral-shade  gliding  into  a  tomb. 

Sigurd  sat  on  the  trunk  of  a  gray,  wither'd  oak, 
By  the  tempest's  strong  arm  uprooted  and  broke ; 
At  his  feet  was  the  sound  of  the  stream's  gloomy  roll, 
O'er  his  head  was  the  shriek  of  the  desolate  owl. 

And  he  heard,  all  around,  in  the  dull  moonlight  air, 
Pensive  sounds,  as  if  spirits  were  murmuring  there, 
While  something  above  him  seem'd  dark'ning  the  ground, 
As  if  black- winged  shadows  were  hovering  around. 

But  was  it  the  voice  of  some  cloud-demon  stern, 
Or  the  wing  of  the  night- wind  that  rustled  the  fern, 
And  shook  on  the  hill- side  the  brown-matted  brier, 
Where  the  lightning  imprinted  its  footstep  of  fire  ? 

No,  the  motionless  boughs  hang  unstirr'd  o'er  his  head, 
And  the  leaves  are  as  hush'd  as  if  nature  lay  dead  ; 
On  heaven's  blue  highway,  no  cloud  has  unfurl' d 
Its  banner  of  gloom  o'er  the  calm,  dreaming  world. 

Yet  he  heard  lonely  sounds,  like  the  fluttering  of  birds, 
And  low,  solemn  whispering  of  mystical  words; 
And  the  wither'd  leaves  shriek'd  on  the  floor  of  the  wood, 
As  if  crush'd  by  the  feet  of  a  fugitive  crowd. 

The  chieftain  look'd  up  towards  the  hill's  rocky  cape, 
Where  the  black  mist  was  changed  to  a  huge  raven-shape, 
22 


330  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OP  THOMOND. 

With  a  star  glaring  red  thro'  its  broad  wing  of  haze, 

As  if  blood-rain  dropp'd  thick  from  the  points  of  its  rays.* 

And  he  saw  his  weird  mother,  revealed  by  its  light, 
Like  a  dread  spirit-queen  on  the  crag's  dusky  height ; 
She  seem'd  on  the  cloud's  sable  border  upraised, 
Round  her  feet  the  green  meteors  shifted  and  blazed. 

And  the  mist,  moved  aside  by  the  restless  night-air, 
Show'd  dim,  awful  figures  of  death  round  her  there  ; 
But  scarcely  their  cold,  dismal  features  were  seen, 
When  the  cloud  closed  its  skirts  and  concealed  them  again. 

The  white  planet  of  dawn  in  the  gray  orient  burn'd, 
Ere  the  lonely  enchantress  to  Sigurd  return'd  : 
From  the  hill's  dingy  summit  she  slowly  came  down, 
When  the  young  day-beam  purpled  its  heath-circled  crown. 

Her  eye  shone,  like  ice  in  the  moon's  waning  light,' 
And  her  loose  hair  was  gemm'd  with  the  spangles  of  night, 
And  her  foot  touch'd  the  sward  with  as  airy  a  tread, 
As  the  shadowy  step  of  the  wind-borne  dead. 

A  banner  of-rich,  brilliant  texture  she  held, 
With  the  form  of  a  raven  inwrought  on  its  field, 
And  a  fringe  like  the  dyes  of  the  sunbow  of  morn, 
When  round  its  bright  crescent  the  rain-scud  hangs  torn. 

"  Take  this  Ensign  !"  she  cried,  "  noble  Sigurd,  my  son  ! 
Its  warp  by  the  rulers  of  darkness  was  spun ; 
And  'twas  woven  at  midnight,  in  destiny's  loom, 
By  hands  that  delight  to  assist  in  men's  doom ! 

"Thou'lt  conquer  wherever  before  thee  'twill  fly, 
But  those  who  shall  bear  it  are  destined  to  die ; 
Then  away  to  the  combat — the  raven's  black  wings 
Shall  flutter  in.  blood  o'er  the  corpses  of  kings !" 

;part  II. 
To  the  strife  of  the  mighty  the  Viking  Chief  bore  him, 
While  his  spell-woven  banner  flew  proudly  before  him  ; 
And  he  plunged  thro'  the  fight,  like  a  shark  'mid  the  flood, 
When  the  ocean  is  singing  the  war-songs  of  God. 

*  This  was  a  sign  of  the  terrific  bloodshed  which  was  soon  to  follow  at 
Clontarf.  Malachy  the  Second,  who  withdrew  his  1,000  Meathmen  from 
Morogh,  at  the  commencement  of  the  fight,  said  that  an  angel  from  heaven 
could  not  describe  the  terrors  of  that  field  ;  "  for,"  said  he,  "  the  fury  of  the 
combatants  was  so  great,  and  their  blows  so  mighty,  that  the  whole  field 
soon  became  enveloped  with  a  dense  haze  of  blood,  and  the  swords  and  war- 
axes  were  seen  to  glimmer  and  quiver  above  the  red  cloud,  like  the  white 
wings  of  an  enormous  flock  of  sea-birds  fluttering  in  the  air  ;  and  the  dark- 
ness was  so  intense  that  the  friend  could  not  know  his  friend,  nor  the  brother 
his  brother,  nor  the  father  his  son,  except  by  their  voices  or  the  place  where 
they  stood  ;  and  the  long  hair  of  the  chiefs,  cut  off  by  the  sharp  weapons, 
was  carried  to  a  great  distance,  on  the  wings  of  the  wind.  And  they  fought 
from  sunrise  to  sunset,  and  many  who  escaped  the  battle  became  lunatic, 
and  never  recovered  their  reason." 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


331 


Thrp'  his  ringed  mail  the  javelins  sought  entrance  in  vain, 
It  shatter'd  their  points  as  the  crag  breaks  the  rain  ! 
While,  fast  as  the  snow-flakes  descend  on  the  sward 
Death  strangled  a  life  at  each  stroke  of  his  sword. 

But  the  Ensign  has  sunk  in  its  glorious  career, 
For  its  bearer  lies  gasping,  transfixt  with  a  spear ; 
And  the  chief  has  commission' d  another  to  lift 
And  carry  the  Flag  thro'  the  battle's  red  drift. 

Twas  bravely  upborne — a  moment  'twas  seen 
O'er  the  wave  of  the  war,  when  it  sank  down  again, 
And  the  soldier  that  raised  it,  beside  it  lay  dead, 
By  the  stroke  of  a  battle-axe  cleft  through  the  head. 

Fierce  Sigurd  glared  round  thro'  the  wild,  surging  throng, 
And  he  called  upon  Upac,  the  stately  and  strong  : 
"Take  the  banner !"  he  cried,  but  'twas  scarce  in  his  hand, 
When  the  blood  of  his  brave  heart  was  drank  by  a  brand. 

Then  Ircus,  the  steel-handed,  strode  o'er  the  slain, 

And  uplifted  the  Ensign  of  death  from  the  plain  : 

No  sooner  in  air  were  its  folds  seen  to  float, 

Than  a  poison'd  dart  plunged,  like  a  snake,  in  his  throat. 

Then  Torstein,  the  swarthy-brow'd  son  of  the  seas, 
Flung  the  magical  folds  of  the  Flag  to  the  breeze, 
And  he  bore  it  triumphantly  on  thro'  the  din 
Of  the  battle- cloud,  raining  the  life-blood  of  men. 

And  Sigurd's  strong  steel  struck  the  reeling  chiefs  down, 
As  the  plague-spirit  smites  the  pale  sons  of  the  town ; 
Or,  as  yellow  October's  bleak,  northern  gale 
Tears  the  perishing  leaves  from  the  boughs  of  the  vale. 

A  plumed  head  went  down  at  each  thrust  of  his  spear, 
And  the  shout  of  his  fury  was  dreadful  to  hear, 
As  thro'  the  deep  front  of  the  phalanx  he  broke, 
Like  fire  bursting  red  thro'  a  column  of  smoke. 

The  brave  Kerthalfadus,*  with  vengeance,  survey'd 
The  wreck  which  the  prowess  of  grim  Sigurd  made, 
And  he  press'd  to  the  centre  where,  hotly  engaged, 
Round  the  banner  of  ruin  the  war-furies  raged. 

Before  him  his  shield,  like  the  broad  setting  sun, 

He  held,  as  to  check  the  dread  warrior  he  ran, 

But  a  blood-mist  arountf  his  dimm'd  sight  seem'd  to  grow, 

Concealing  the  iron-clad  form  of  his  foe. 

*  The  Chronicles  of  Denmark  and  Ireland  agree  in  stating  that  many  of 
the  Danes,  inspired  with  admiration  for  the  ennobling  qualities  and  virtues 
of  King  Brian,  fought  on  his  tide  against  their  countrymen  at  Clontarf . 


332  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Yet  his  long- shafted  lance  cleft  the  heart  of  Torstein, 
And  the  standard  once  more  lay  o'erthrown  on  the  plain, 
And  the  sheen  of  its  folds  was  with  purple  dyes  stain' d, 
From  the  blood-shower  that  o'er  it  tempestuously  rain'd. 

"  Come  hither,  brave  Rufus  !  thou  hawk  of  the  field  !" 
Cried  Sigurd,  indignantly  striking  his  shield  ; 
"  Lift  my  proud  raven  Flag  o'er  the  cloud  of  the  fray, 
That  thy  name  may  be  heard  in  Valhalla  to-day  !" 

But  Armund,  the  tall,  red-hair'd  chief  of  Dunnair, 
Spoke  aloud  to  the  warrior,  *  *  0  Rufus,  beware! 
"  If  thou  bear'st  that  banner,  thou'lt  perish,  for  all 
Who  are  fated  to  bear  it,  are  destined  to  fall !" 

As  the  hero  ceased  speaking,  a  mighty  spear  flew 
On  his  corslet  of  iron  and  clove  it  in  two, 
And  he  fell  on  the  sward,  with  his  stout  bosom  sever' d, 
Like  the  ash  of  the  hill  by  a  thunder- stroke  shiver' d. 

Then  Rufus  said  fiercely  to  Sigurd,  in  wrath, 
"The  demons  of  bloodshed  are  loosed  on  thy  path, 
And  the  Fates  round  thy  curst  Flag,  are  grimly  in  league, 
So  'tis  meet  that  thy  own  hand  should  carry  thy  plague !" 

Grim  Sigurd  glared  furiously  round  on  the  van, 
And  he  called  on  his  Viking  troops,  man  after  man, 
To  carry  the  banner,  but  all  were  dismay'd, 
And  none  the  command  of  the  chieftain  obey'd. 

Then  he  struck  his  red  spear  in  the  blood-moisten'd  clay, 

And  tore  from  the  staff  the  dread  ensign  away  ; 

He  wrapt  it  his  garment  of  iron  inside, 

And  advanced  on  the  foe,  in  the  fire  of  his  pride. 

But  a  stone  from  the  sling  of  some  strong  son  of  war, 
Forced  its  death-pointed  way  thro'  h  s  visor's  steel  bar  ; 
It  enter'd,  and  shatter' d  the  dome  of  his  brain, 
And  laid  the  proud  Viking  chief  dead  on  the  plain. 

Bold  Rufus  sprang  forth  to  the  spot  where  he  lay, 
And  uplifted  the  warrior  to  bear  him  away, 
But  scarce  had  he  turn'd,  with  the  corpse  to  depart, 
When  he  felt  the  cold  sting  of  a  lance  in  his  heart. 

Death  shadow'd  the  soul-ray  of  life  on  his  face, 
And  he  sank,  with  the  corpse  in  his  freezing  embrace ; 
Thus,  all  who  approach'd  the  dread  Ensign  were  killed, 
And  the  words  of  the  Sibyl  were  darkly  fulfilled. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


333 


THE  WATER  SPIRIT. 

A  LEGEND   OF   CASTLE-CONNELL. 

On  the  fringe  of  the  fern  the  moonbeam  is  yellow- 
On  the  shore's  dusky  marge  droops  the  gray-tassel'd  willow 
From  the  bank's  misty  verdure  the  tide  is  retreating, 
Where  young  Donal  Bhan  for  his  sweetheart  is  waiting- 
No  breath  the  blue  sheen  of  the  river  has  ruffled  ; 
No  cloud  the  brown  head  of  the  mountain  has  muffled 
No  sound  the  dim  face  of  the  landscape  floats  over, 
Save  the  shrill,  airy  note  of  the  lone  moorland  plover. 

The  night-flies  are  out  on  their  silvery  winglets, 

Playing  round  the  green  herbs  and  the  flowers'  dewy  ringlets 

Pale  trembled  the  stars  in  the  deep  sapphire  heaven, 

Like  groups  of  white  blossoms  by  May-zephyrs  waven. 

O'er  the  field  the  gray  veil  of  the  weeping  dew  hover'd, 

'Till  the  dank  grass  with  thick  crystal  fragments  was  covered, 

And  the  wood  in  calm,  shadowy  grandeur  was  lying, 

As  mute  as  a  harp  when  its  minstrel  is  dying. 

Up  and  down  paced  the  youth  on  the  moonlight  bank  airy, 

He  linger'd  and  watch'd  till  his  spirit  grew  weary  ; 

The  moon  stole  her  splendour  away  from  the  valley, 

And  he  must  go  home  without  greeting  his  Eily. 

But  a  sound  thrills  the  air,  and  he  pauses  to  listen, 

Near  the  hedge  of  wild  brier  where  the  thorn-flowers  glisten— 

'Tis  gone— yet  again  his  young  heart-pulses  quiver, 

As  the  rising  sound  swells  and  rolls  up  from  the  river. 

Around  him  a  gush  of  wild  music  'rose,  flowing 
In  rich  waves  of  harmony,  coming  and  going, 
Note  after  note,  with  deep  breathings  of  sweetness, 
Rush'd  into  his  spirit,  with  passionate  fleetness.    • 
As  one  in  a  dream  hears  the  Fairy-choir  singing,  # 

Where  the  snow-bosom' d  buds  of  the  woodland  are  springing, 
Thus  his  senses,  enraptur'd,  grew  madden'd  with  pleasure, 
And  he  danced,  in  wild  joy,  to  the  full-swelling  measure. 

While  for  some  rosy  partner  his  bosom  was  yearning, 
To  dance  to  those  wild,  magic  numbers  'till  morning, 
A  light,  floating  shade  in  the  moonbeam  pass'd  o'er  him, 
And  a  lady  sprang  up,  like  a  white  cloud,  before  him : 
From  the  stream  to  the  bank's  dewy  slope  she  ascended, 
And  her  pale,  azure  hand  to  the  youth  she  extended  ; 
He  felt  it  as  something  'twixt  substance  and  shadow, 
Like  a  "cean-a-bhan"  moist  with  the  dews  of  the  meadow. 

Autumn's  gossamer-mist  on  a  lake-shore  reposing, 
When  the  pale,  yellow  curtain  of  twilight  is  closing ; 
A  star's  trembling  glance  on  the  ridge  of  a  billow — 
The  light,  airy  sway  of  the  zephyr-rock'd  willow; 


334  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

The  dim,  ghostly  brow  of  November's  moon  waning, 
When  midnight's  gray  cloud  on  the  lone  field  is  raining, 
Are  types  of  her  strange  spirit-beauty  and  bearing — 
Her  face,  and  the  chill,  hazy  robe  she  was  wearing. 

Donal  look'd  on  her  face,  with  a  feeling  of  coldness, 

That  damp'd  the  hot  flame  of  his  ardour  and  boldness, 

For  her  lip,  cheek,  and  brow  hath  a  winding-sheet's  whiteness, 

And  her  eyes  the  weird  glow  of  the  bog-meteor's  brightness. 

But  her  step,  in  the  dance,  was  so  light  and  elastic, 

She  floated  around,  like  a  shadow  majestic ; 

And  he  mark'd,  o'er  the  dew,  her  white  feet  glance  and  quiver, 

Like  the  foam-wreaths  that  leap  down  the  Falls  of  the  river. 

As  the  youth,  in  the  flying  maze,  pass'd  and  repass'd  her, 

His  blood  leapt  in  fire,  and  his  pulses  beat  faster; 

The  swell  of  the  music  grew  richer  and  sweeter, 

And  the  feet  of  the  dancers  flew  lighter  and  fleeter. 

Their  steps  on  the  pearly  sward,  humid  and  hazy, 

Circled  on,  for  an  hour,  over  grass-blade  and  daisy, 

'Till  the  moon,  in  the  west,  like  a  white  flower,  descended, 

And  the  farm-cock  proclaim'd  that  night's  journey  was  ended. 

Into  deep  silence  melted  the  numbers  enchanted, 
And  the  pale-bosom' d  stream  in  the  breathing  dawn  panted; 
Like  a  thin  airy  shade,  o'er  the  waters  blue-sheeted, 
Thro'  the  dim  river's  cold  fog,  the  white  lady  fleeted  ; 
And  Donal  sank  down,  'mid  the  dawn's  fairy  stillness, 
With  his  tired  limbs,  like  icicles,  stricken  with  dullness 
And  there,  while  the  morning-birds  warbled  around  him, 
The  young  milking-maids,  in  a  frozen  trance  found  him. 

And  Eily,  with  tears  in  her  beauteous  eyes  welling, 
Has  gone  o'er  the  hills  to  a  weird  woman's  dwelling, 
Who,  fearing  the  priest,  to  a  lone  glen  retreated, 
And  for  years  the  strong  power  of  the  Fairies  defeated. 
The  red-eyed  witch  heard  the  maid's  story,  and  turn'd 
To  a  dell,  where  the  fern  by  lightning  was  burned  ; 
There  she  cypher'd  some  spell  on  the  moss  of  the  heather, 
With  the  blood  of  an  owl  and  a  hill-raven's  feather. 

Then  she  said,  in  low  words,  to  the  maiden  repining, 

"  Come  here  the  first  night,  when  the  new  moon  is  shining, 

Alone,  you  must  shun  the  broad  track  of  the  highway, 

And  come  by  the  brier-skirted  path  of  the  by-way. 

I  tell  you  a  fact — but  let  nobody  hear  it — 

Your  lover  has  danced  with  a  grim  Water  Spirit ; 

But  the  charm  is  set  by  my  skill  to  restore  him, 

And  chase  the  deep  gloom  of  the  spell  that  lies  o'er  him !" 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 


335 


EITHNE'S  VISION.* 

When  April,  the  dewy-eyed  bridesmaid  of  May, 
Renew'd  the  sweet  verdure  of  forest  and  field, 

And  the  flowers,  from  their  green  hoods,  look'd  out  in  the  ray 
That  pencilTd  their  dyes  and  their  beauties  unveil'd ; 

Young  Eithne  arose  from  her  white  couch  of  dreams, 
While  the  spring-dew  yet  wept  on  the  leaves  of  the  lawn, 

And  the  slumb'rous  glory  of  day's  infant  beams 
Crept  over  the  roseate  threshold  of  dawn. 

But  the  loveliest  ray  that  from  morning's  fount  springs, 
Could  not  peer  the  sweet  light  of  her  eye's  glowing  spell; 

And  her  locks  roll'd,  a  rich  tangled  mass  of  gold  rings, 
Round  her  cheek,  like  the  rose-tinge  that  lines  the  sea-shell. 

Never  before  hath  the  visions  of  night 
To  her  couch,  with  such  wild  spirit-harmony,  stole ; 

Never  before  did  they  show  such  a  bright, 
Regal  image  of  love  to  the  eyes  of  her  soul. 

For  she  dreamt  that  she  saw,  near  the  marge  of  a  spring, 
Whose  cool  ripples  freshen'd  the  heart  of  the  wood, 

A  bright-featured  youth  who  appear'd  like  a  king 
Of  Heber's  proud  lineage,  or  Heremon's  high  blood. 

And,  near  him,  there  grew  on  a  moss-shaded  mound 
A  tree  whose  high  foliage  to  heaven  was  raised, 

And  richly,  on  all  its  long  branches  around, 

Beaming  clusters  of  jewels,  like  summer-stars,  blazed. 

Delighted  in  spirit,  the  maiden  look'd  on 

The  glorious-brow'd  youth  who  stood  under  the  tree, 
While  the  diamonds  dropp'd  down  at  his  feet,  one  by  one, 

Like  red  meteor-sparks  falling  into  the  sea. 

He  gather'd  the  treasure  that  flash'd  on  the  ground, 
And  advanced  to  fair  Eithne,  with  love-lighted  eyes ; 

And  he  hung  every  gem  on  her  garment  around, 
Till  it  gleam'd,  like  the  bow  of  show'ry  May-skies. 

Then  he  kiss'd  the  soft,  delicate  snow  of  her  hand, 
Which,  pulse  to  pulse,  lovingly  thrill'd  in  his  own ; 

And  he  led  her  away,  where  a  garden,  all  grand, 
Like  the  bright  Land  of  Youth,  in  its  radiancy  shone. 

As  the  wind  stirs  an  apple-tree's  white  cloud  of  bloom, 
She  felt  his  sweet  voice  all  her  bosom  chords  move ; 

"  Virgin  daughter  of  Dunluing  !  here  is  thy  home, 
If  thou'lt  give  me  the  soul-treasur'd  boon  of  thy  love  ! 

*  The  readers  of  Irish  history  must  be  well  acquainted  with  the  romantic 
incident  illustrated  in  the  above  Poem. 


336  LAYS   AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

So  o'erpower'd  was  her  heart  with  the  glory  that  grew, 
Enchanting  and  dazzling  her  brain  and  her  sight, 

Her  spirit  dissolved,  like  a  white  cloud  of  dew, 
And  she  sat,  'mid  the  roses,  and  wept  with  delight. 

The  sun,  like  a  large  ruby,  peer'd  in  the  East, 
While  Eithne  review'd  the  romance  of  her  dream, 

And,  wild  as  a  white  billow,  heaved  her  young  breast 
Like  a  lake-lily  rock'd  by  the  pulse  of  the  stream. 

For,  around  her,  instead  of  a  garden  of  light — 
With  the  sun-painted  tints  of  its  blossomy  sheen, 

And  the  proud  youth  who  seem'd  like  a  god  in  her  sight — 
Were  the  walls  of  her  shieling,  so  humble  and  mean. 

With  a  heart-sigh  she  turned  from  her  lattice  aside, 
And  carelessly  flung  on  her  plain  peasant-gown ; 

"And,  alas!  where  are  all  the  rich  jewels,"  she  cried, 
"  Which  on  this  poor  robe,  but  an  hour  ago,  shone?" 

Like  a  seraph  in  marble,  so  beauteously  pale, 
She  bound  up  her  bright  curls,  ring  after  ring, 

Then  hastily  snatching  her  white  milking  pail, 
Like  a  sun-ray,  she  flew  to  the  cool  forest-spring. 

For  her  spirit  still  kept  the  loved  vision  in  view, 
Like  the  flower  that  looks  after  the  glory  of  day  ; 

And  while,  by  the  fence  of  wild  rose-brier  she  flew, 
She  pull'd  the  young  blossoms  that  glow'd  in  her  way. 

The  morning  had  given  the  night's  dingy  shroud, 

On  the  mountain's  blue  shoulder,  its  first  yellow  dye  ; 

And  the  lark,  'mid  the  pale-floating  rings  of  the  cloud, 
Warbled  sweet  as  a  fairy  harp  touch'd  in  the  sky. 

The  risen  sun  shower'd  his  red  shafts  on  the  ground, 
And  the  spring  wind's  fresh  breathing  was  heard  in  the  trees  ; 

And  the  wood's  dewy  vistas  grew  musical  round, 

With  the  sigh  of  young  leaves  and  the  hum  of  wild  bees. 

And  Eithne  long  mused  by  the  blue-shining  well, 
With  her  large  eyes'  dark  fringes  half-shading  their  beam, 

While  a  pearl  from  their  depths  on  her  lily-hand  fell, 
As  she  sweetly  look'd  round  on  the  scene  of  her  dream. 

She  fill'd  her  white  pail  from  the  heart  of  the  fount, — 
We*nt  home  and  return'd,  and  fill'd  it  again  ; 

But  still,  as  if  dreaming,  she  paused  to  recount 
The  glories  she  saw  in  her  sleep's  phantom-scene. 

A  tree  on  the  bank  of  the  spring-brooklet  grew, 
Like  that  which  appear'd  in  the  charm  of  her  sleep ; 

Its  foliage  was  glistening  with  crystals  of  dew, 
And  its  calm,  golden  shadow  around  it  lay  deep. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  337 

This  tree,  with  a  mixt  look  of  pleasure  and  grief, 

Her  dark  eye,  a  thousand  times,  scann'd  and  survey'd, 

'Till  her  glance  seem'd  to  conjure  a  glorious  young  chief, 
From  the  green  leafy  hall  of  its  calm  vernal  shade. 

With  a  smile  like  a  flower,  and  an  eye  like  the  glance 
Of  a  perch'd  eagle  fixt  on  the  sun's  zenith  blaze, 

He  stood  out  before  her,  as  straight  as  a  lance, 
While  her  heart's  living  current  was  thrill'd  with  amaze. 

Is  this  the  magnificent  phantom  she  saw 
In  the  vision  of  beauty  that  haunted  her  sleep  ? 

Are  those  the  soft  eyes  that  dictated  love's  law 

To  her  heart,  and  first  taught  her  in  rapture  to  weep  ? 

'Tis  no  shadowy  creation  of  vision  or  dream, 
That  now  has  appeared  to  her  soul-glowring  eyes, 

But  Tara's  high  ruler — the  brilliant  in  fame — 
King  Cormac  the  splendid,  the  mighty  and  wise. 

That  morning,  while  chasing  the  air-footed  roe, 

To  this  spot,  from  the  band  of  the  huntsmen,  he  strayed, 

And  saw  radiant  Eithne's  fair  image  of  snow 
Bending  o'er  the  blue  well  in  the  cool  forest-shade. 

Unobserved,  in  the  gloom  of  a  sycamore  bower, 

With  mute  admiration  he  gazed  on  the  fair, 
While  his  charm'd  soul  ask'd  how  so  beauteous  a  flower 

Had  grown,  to  adorn  the  desert-wilds  there  ? 

He  watch'd  her,  and,  every  moment,  he  felt 

A  new  ray  of  her  loveliness  steal  to  his  soul, 
And  her  sweetness  seem'd  into  his  heart-veins  to  melt, 

Like  honey  dissolved  in  a  bright  golden  bowl. 

He  woo'd  her,  and  soon  was  the  lord  of  her  heart ; 

A  rich,  queenly  bride,  to  high  Tara  she's  gone  ; 
And  long  did  the  proud-born  Cormac  Mac  Art, 

With  the  peerless  Eithne  share  his  love  and  his  throne. 


THE  MURDERED  PRINCE. 

A  HISTORICAL  LEGEND  OF  THE  HOUSE  OF  THOMOND. 

Princely  Donogh*  fled,  defeated,  from  Bunratty's  plain  of 

death, 
O'er  the  dark  hills  of  Hy  Caisin  and  their  gloomy  wastes  of 

heath ; 

»  Donogh  O'Brien,  the  hero  of  the  above  tragic  poem,  was  crowned' King 
of  Thomond,  a.  d.,  1306.  He  was  the  eldest  son  of  Torlogh  the  Warlike,  in 
whose  reign  the  De  Clares  got  possession  of  Bunratty.    The  assassin  who 


338  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

But  when  he  reach'd,  at  night-fall,  the  blue  valley  of  the 

streams, 
The  heavens  wax'd  red  above  him,  for  his  palace  was  in 

flames. 

At  morn  he  led  his  army  to  the  field,  in  banded  pride ; 

At  night  of  all  his  warriors  only  one  was  at  his  side  ; 

And  the  chief  was  sorely  wounded,  for  a  lance,  with  fury 

thrown, 
In  the  blazing  crash  of  battle,  pierced  his  strong  thigh  to  the 

bone. 

Sadly  gazed  he  for  a  moment  on  the  red,  o'erhanging  cloud, 

Beneath  whose  fiery  shadow  the  destroyers  shouted  loud  ; 

Then  he  feebly  knelt,  and,  sighing,  with  the  anguish  of 
despair, 

Bow'd  his  head  and  raised  his  lock'd  hands  in  deep,  passion- 
breathed  prayer : — 

"JHoly  God  !  who  raiseth  the  humble  and  casteth  down  the 

proud ! 
Oh !  save  me  from  the  vengeance  which  my  cruel  foes  have 

vow'd ! 
In  thy  mercy  and  compassion,  turn  thine  eyes  on  my  distress  ! 
Thou  art  the  right  Avenger  and  the  source  of  true  redress ! 

"  Send  the  angel  of  thy  pity  to  a  fallen  prince  to-night! 

Do,  0  God  of  strength,  whatever  in  thy  holy  eyes  seems 

right ! 
Like  a  dreary  wreck  deserted,  on  a  wild,  surrounding  sea, 
I  am  sinking, — Blessed  Maker,  reach  thy  saving  hand  to  me!" 

Slowly  'rose  the  sorrowing  chieftain,  and  he  call'd  his  clansman 

near, 
As  he  propp'd  his  drooping  figure  on  the  strong  shaft  of  his 


"Bind  my  wound,  oh,  faithful  Munchin  !  surely  God  hath  not 

denied 
His  succour  to  the  fallen,  when  He  sent  thee  to  my  side  !" 

The  clansman  pluck'd  some  green  herbs,  with  the  drops  of 

heaven  fresh, 
And  applied  their  soothing  virtues  to  the  torture-torn  flesh  ; 
Then  he  stripp'd  the  silken  linen  from  his  cochal's  shaggy  hem, 
And,  with  care,   he  gently  bound  it  round  the  chieftain's 

wounded  limb. 

basely  deprived  him  of  life,  on  his  retreat,  after  his  power  had  been  de- 
stroyed at  the  battle  of  Bunratty,  was  a  near  kinsman  of  his  own.  The 
records  say  that  this  traitor  fell  at  the  battle  of  Tully  O'Dea,  two  years 
after  the  murder  of  Donogh;  but  I  prefer  the  tradition,  as  most  suited  to 
the  purpose  of  the  poem,  which  says  he  was  killed  by  lightning  on  the  very 
spot  where  he  committed  the  murder. 
See  a  poem  on  the  battle  of  Bunratty,  in  this  yolume. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  *<>» 

"Thanks,  my  friend!"  said  the  O'Brien,  "for  the  growing 

ease  I  feel — 
Never  did  I  for  kind  service  my  heart's  gratitude  conceal ! 
Now,  go  down  to  yonder  wild  dell,  where  the  three  gray 

hazels  grow, 
At  the  angle  of  the  furze-bank,  where  the  curving  fountains 

flow! 

There,  between  those  slim  trees,  hidden,  you  will  find  my 

jewels  all ; 
At  the  dead  hour  of  last  midnight  I  conveyed  them  from  my 

hall— 
Oh  !  'tis  well  my  household  treasure  has  escaped  the  greedy 

hands 
Of  black  Dermod's  hireling  kerns,  and  De  Clare's  marauding 

bands ! 

Munchin,  in  my  day  of  glory,  when  I  sat  upon  my  throne, 
When  the  splendid  gifts  of  fortune,  power,  and  honour  were 

my  own ! 
Thou  wert  poor,  and  bow'd  with  weakness,  till  I  rais  d  thee, 

like  a  sword, 
To  my  side,  and  gave  thee  honour  and  distinction  at  my  board! 

Round  the  wound  misfortune  gave  thee,  I  a  golden  bandage 
tied,  . 

And  I  trusted  thy  affection,  tho'  thy  faith  I  never  tried ! 

Now  has  come  the  hour  of  trial,  when  I  yearn  to  find  in  thee 

The  steady  faith  and  friendship,  which  you  always  found  in 
me! 

But,  a  truce  to  idle  gossip,  my  brave  palace  is  a  wreck, 

And  the  blood-spears  of  the  Norman  may  be  soon  upon  my 

track ! 
We  must  turn  our  faces  northward,  and  by  lonely  ways  retire, 
For  rest  and  sure  protection,  to  the  country  of  Maguire ! 

Haste!  those  jewels,  which  I  mention'd,  from  the  dell's  green 

bosom  bring, 
And  share,  if  thou  art  willing,  the  sad  exile  of  thy  king; 
Thou  wert  my  trusty  favourite,  in  the  bright  days  of  my  reign. 
And  heaven  may  make  us  happy,  with  such  joyful  times,  again!' 

With  a  light  step,  like  a  wolf-hound,  to  the  valley  Munchin 
sped, 

And  he  brought  the  sparkling  treasure  from  the  wild  dell's 
mossy  bed ; 

Then  they  turn'd  their  faces  northward,  thro'  the  forest  *  wav- 
ing arch,  , 

And  the  lonely  stars  of  midnight  saw  them  far  upon  their 
march. 


340  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  all  the  night  the  bleak  wind  on  their  pallid  faces  beat, 
And  the  desert-thorns,  like  adders,  stung  their  slow  advancing 

feet; 
While  the  trees,  like  wailing  giants,  with  a  hoarse,  continuous 

moan, 
Blent  their  million  leafy  voices  in  one  ghostly  monotone. 

And  along  their  desert  pathway,  like  a  white  star  'mid  the 

gloom, 
From  tree  to  tree,  before  them,  flew  a  bird  of  flashing  plume  ; 
Grim  and  gaunt  in  shape  and  pinion,    while,    by  turns,  it 

droop'd  its  head, 
And  murmur'd,  like  a  mourner  o'er  the  dark  sleep  of  the  dead. 

Toiling  up  a  sterile  hill-side,  as  the  red  dawn  fringed  the  East, 
The  tired  travellers  sought  a  ravine,  and  took  shelter  in  its 

breast  ; 
The  chief  was  faint  and  weary,  for  his  wound  grew  stiff  and 

sore, 
And  a  fever-thirst  was  parching  his  brave  heart-veins  to  the 

core. 

"Munchin,  bring  me  drink  !"  he  murmur'd,  while  his  quick, 

retreating  breath 
Scarcely  help  d  his  struggling  accent,  like  the  faint  prelude  of 

death, 
"  Pull  a  bed  of  broom  and  fern,  till  I  rest  my  sinking  frame, 
My  spirit's  strength  1  is    failing,  and  my  veins  are  all    on 

flame !" 

Munchin,  in  his  helmet,  brought  cool  water  from  the  rill, 
And  he  pluck'd  the  broom  and  fern  from  the  brown  brow  of 

the  hill ; 
The  chieftain  drank  the  fresh  draught,  as  a  scorch'd  plant 

drinks  the  dew, 
And  on  the  fragrant  heather  his  exhausted  frame  he  threw. 

Slowly  o'er  his  darkening  eyelids    stole  a  shadow,  dim  and 

deep, 
And  his  sorrows  were  forgotten  in  the  breathing  death  of 


While  dark  Munchin  watch'd  beside  him,  with  a  quick  eye 

prying  round, 
'Till  in  the  chieftain's  helmet  he  the  treasured  jewels  found. 

One  by  one,  he  closely  view'd  them  with  a  fast,  admiring  gaze, 
While  his  stern  eye,  like  a  demon's,  with  fierce  light  began. to 

blaze ; 
What  were  faith,  allegiance,  honour,  love  or  friendship,  now 

to  him? 
All  vanish'd  from  his  bosom,  as  he  view'd  each  shining  gem. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  341 

Ah  !  the  fiend  of  self  is  master  of  the  dark  thoughts  of  his 
heart, 

And  his  brow  is  sternly  knitted,  and  his  blue  lips  set  apart ; 

Thrice  he  glared  upon  the  sleeper,  with  a  rigid,  iron  frown, 

Thrice  he  raised  his  lance  to  slay  him,  but  his  hand  fell  power- 
less down.  \ 

The  traitor's  strong  nerve  shudder'd,  for  a  wild  cry,  from  the 

wood, 
Stay'd  his  raised  steel  and  suspended  the  mad  action  of  his 

blood ; 
Long  he  listen'd  to  the  sad  wail  that  return'd  and  died  away, 
And    he  knew    that  song  of  sorrow  came  from   Oebhin  of 

Craiglea !  * 

She  who  watch'd  the  House  of  Thomond,  ever  chanting,  in  her 

tears, 
Dreary  death-keens  for  its  chieftains,  thro'  a  thousand  misty 

years ! 
Oh,  mysterious,  faithful  spirit !  that  forewarn'd  them  of  the 

tomb, 
But  thy  airy  hand  was  powerless  to  avert  the  stroke  of  doom ! 

"Nerveless  coward!"  in  the  traitor's  ear,  the  jealous  tempter 
cried, 

And  again  the  sparkling  beauty  of  the  brilliant  stones  he 
eyed; 

And  above  the  slumbering  chieftain  gleam' d  the  horrid  lance 
again, 

Which  descended,  with  a  death-plunge,  to  his  cleft  heart's  in- 
most vein. 

Dimly  gliding,  like  a  moonbeam,  from  the  shadow  of  a  tree, 

In  the  dusky,  golden  dawn-haze,  moved  the  marble-brow'd 
banshee, 

And  the  white  rings  of  her  long  hair,  like  a  floating  cloud  of 
snow, 

Roll'd  along  her  bending  shoulders  to  her  misty  feet  below. 

With  a  brow  as  white  and  icy  as  the  cold  brow  of  the  dead, 
She  gazed  at  the  assassin  till  his  black  heart  sank,  like  lead ; 
For  her  red  eyes  seem'd  to  curse  him,  till  his  very  soul  was 

sered 
With  the  look  of  wrath  she  gave  him,  as  she  sobb'd  and  disap- 

pear'd. 

Beneath  the  beetling  granite,  where  the  slaughter'd  chieftain 

The  blood-stained  gems  the  murderer  in  the  cliff's  chink  hid 

away  : 
Then,  furious  as  a  maniac,  from  the  place  of  crime  he  flew, 
'Till  Bunratty's  ghastly  Castle  'rose,  in  darkness,  on  his  view. 

*  For  a  description  of  Oebhin,  the  Banshee  of  the  Dalgais,  see  poems  and 
notes  at  pages  41  and  103. 


342  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

There  he  told  De  Clare  the  story,  how  he  slew  the  Dalcas 

prince, 
And  the  traitor  was  rewarded  with  a  golden  recompense  ; 
But  the  eye  of  heaven  was  on  him  for  the  hideous  deed  he'd 

done, 
And  God's  kindled  wrath  held  o'er  him  a  red  scourge  he  could 

not  shun. 

Danced    the  sunbeams    o'er    the    valleys,    in    their  balmy 

morning  play, 
And  the  woodlands'  vernal  freshness  in  a  dream  01  beauty 

lay, 
And  the  mists  arose,  like  spirits,  from  the  heather  s  crimson 

bed,  t    . 

Round  the  darkly-shadow'd  ravine  where  the  noble  victim 

bled. 

Chimed  the  bird  of  heaven  above  him,  in  the  sapphire  plains 

of  light, 
And  the  blossom'd  rock-brier  near  him  waved  its  wreaths  of 

green  and  white, 
And  the  lonely  mountain-plover  raised  its  shrill  voice  at  his 

head, 
While  the  winds,  like  mourners,  whisper'd  round  the  pale 

brow  of  the  dead. 

He  who  ruled  o'er  all  those  valleys,   hills,  and  woodlands 

yesterday, 
With  ten  thousand  proud  heads  bowing  glad  submission  to 

his  sway, 
Lies  unshriven,   unanointed,   without    requiem,    shroud,   or 

prayer, 
Unlamented  and  abandon'd,  like  a  wolf  slain  in  his  lair. 

And  the  murderer  lived  unpunish'd,   tho'  a  hell  was  in  his 

mind, 
For  his  presence  was  detested,  curst,  and  scorn'd  by  mankind ; 
'Till  two  circling  harvests  lifted  their  brown  billows  o'er  the 

plain, 
And  the  battle-clans  were  marshall'd  for  the  deadly  toil  again. 

And  black  Munchin  was  amongst  them,  in  the  army  of  De  Clare, 

The  leader  of  a  squadron  which  himself  hath  trained  with 
care; 

But  the  Norman  bands  were  routed,  and  their  allies  hewn,  in 
blood, 

And  the  regicide,  for  refuge,  sought  the  lonely  mountain- 
wood. 

And  he  said,  in  self-communion,  as  along  the  wold  he  ran, 
"I'll  leave  this  land  of  bloodshed,  where  the  curse  of  man  is 
man! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  343 

But  I'll  take  those  jewels  hidden  in  the  cliff  of  Carrigree, 
And  I'll  make  a  home  of  pleasure  in  some  land  beyond  the 
sea  1" 

Away,  with  deer-like  swiftness,  to  the  fatal  hill  he  hied, ' 
'Till  he  reach'd  the  gory  ravine  in  its  torrent-cloven  side ; 
There  he  saw  the  blood-stain' d  heather;  but  the  corpse  was 

brought  away, 
Long  since,  for  pious  burial  in  the  consecrated  clay. 

Burn'd  his  brow  and  throbb'd  his  eye-balls,  for  the  brand  of 

cursed  Cain 
Seem'd  to  pierce  his  aching  forehead,  'till  it  scorch'd  his  reeling 

brain ; 
While  the  stiff  gore  on  the  dry  broom,  changed  from  dark  to 

melting  red, 
'Till  the  mass  of  wither'd  heather,  with  reviving  freshness, 

bled. 

Round  the  brown  hill  roll'd  a  black  cloud,  that  o'ershadow'd 

stream  and  plain, 
And  the  dark  firs  shriek'd  and  shiver'd  as  if  seized  with  fearful 

pain; 
For  God's  thunder- voice  of  judgment,  in  red  words  of  flame, 

began 
To  pronounce  perdition's  sentence  on  the  wretched,  guilty  man. 

Thro'  the  blue  gloom  of  the  valley  rush'd  the  blast  in  fiendish 


And  the  dancing  sheets  of  lightning  whirFd  around,   like 

blazing  palls ; 
And  the  huge  hill  thrill'd  and  trembled  to  its  mighty  granite 

knees, 
Like  a  panic-stricken  giant  who  impending  danger  sees. 

Some  pitying  angel  whisper'd  the  doom'd  wretch  to  kneel  and 

pray, 
But  the  fiend  was  in  his  steel'd  heart,  and  it  coldly  answer'd, 

"Nay!" 
While  fiercer,  louder,  nearer,  roar'd  the  elemental  peal, 
And  the  fork'd  flames,  like  red  war-brands,  glared  and  leaped 

along  the  vale. 

Like  the  God-denying  Atheist,  Munchin  view'd  the  scene,  and 

thought 
That  the  awful  change  existed,   by  some  freak  of  nature 

wrought, 
When  the  lightning's  blazing  arm  hurled  the  cliff-pile  on  his 

head, 
And  its  crash  might  chase  the  slumber  from  the  cold  eyes  of 

the  dead. 


344  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS   OF   THOMOND. 

Deep,  beneath  the  massive  ruin  was  the  hateful  traitor  crush'd, 
The  lightning  quench'd  its  blue  torch,  and  the  thunder's  peal 

was  hush'd; 
Clear'd  the  cloud,  and  calm'd  the  tempest,  sung  the  birds,  and 

shone  the  sun,— r 
God's  fiery  agents  rested,  for  his  vengeance-work  was  done. 


TORLOGH  AND  MARY, 

A     LEGEND     OF    QUIN    ABBEY.* 

Bring  to  this  table  f  a  goblet  of  flame, 

'Till  I  drink  a  toast  to  the  gallant  and  true ! 
Bring  not  red  wine — for  red  wine  is  too  tame — 

But  a  fiery  bumper  of  "Mountain  Dew!" 
Here's  to  your  memory,  bold  Seaan  Bwee ! 

That  lies  there  below,  in  the  Abbey  of  Quin — 
Oh,  heavens  of  light !  shall  we  evermore  see, 

In  the  land  of  Brian,  such  brave,  wild  men  ? 

The  soil  is  curst  with  degenerate  seed — 

Gone  is  the  race  of  our  battle-gods  ; 
Yes,  the  diamonds  are  gone,  and  in  their  stead 

Is  a  cold  generation  of  fireless  clods  ! 
There's  wrath  in  my  heart- veins  here,  to-day  ! 

Ah,  Denis  Moloney,  my  friend,  don't  laugh  ! 
What  I  said  is  true,  and  again  I  say, 

Death  took  the  wheat,  but  he  left  the  chaff! 

You  say  that  you  knew  the  fierce  man  of  fire, 
That  tyrant  or  demon  could  not  control — 

Give  me  the  glass — fill  it  up  entire — 
Here's  eternal  joy  to  his  god-like  soul ! 

*  Quin  Abbey  was  built,  in  1402,  by  Sioda  Cam  MacNamara,  Prince  of 
Clancuilen,  whose  remains  were  interred  under  the  grand  high  altar.  Though 
now  in  a  ruinous  state,  it  yet  retains  much  of  its  pristine  grandeur,  and 
stands  a  magnificent  memorial  of  the  affluence,  munificence  and  piety  of 
its  princely  founder.  Within  its  venerable  precints  rest  the  ashes  of  many 
of  the  warlike  chieftains  and  lords  of  Clancuilen,  who  ranked  next  in  power 
and  prestige  to  the  princely  O'Briens  themselves.  "With  it  are  connected 
many  romantic  legends  and  sensational  traditions  of  the  old,  bygone  times 
of  feud  and  chivalry. 

t  An  old  festive  table  and  other  antiquated  articles  of  house  furniture 
which  belonged  to  the  celebrated  Dalcassian  fire-eater,  MacNamara,  are  in 
the  possession  of  a  man  named  Denis  Moloney,  who  keeps  an  inn  opposite 
the  abbey.  The  tomb,  in  which  lie  the  relics  of  the  intrepid  Fireball,  is  to 
be  seen  in  a  small  compartment  of  the  ruin  at  the  left  side  of  the  high  altar, 
and  nearly  opposite  is  to  be  seen  the  tomb  of  O'Callaghan  the  Great,  who 
fell  in  a  duel,  by  the  hand  of  Seaan  Bog  MacNamara,  of  Ennis,  through 
the  instrumentality  of  Fireball. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  345 

Yon  tower  rises  up,  like  a  phantom  of  gloom, 
As  I  look  from  the  window,  with  mournful  pride, 

At  the  palace  of  shadows  that  darken  his  tomb, 
And  the  low,  little  cot  where  the  warrior  died  !  * 

I  enter'd  the  abbey,  with  panting  speed — 

I  signed  no  cross,  and  I  said  no  prayer, 
For  my  heart  leapt  about,  like  a  goaded  steed, 

O'er  the  noble  ashes  that  moulder  there ; 
Ghosts  of  old  memories,  on  the  blast, 

Seem'd  flitting  around  me,  like  things  of  light — 
Oh,  God  be  with  the  immortal  past ! 

And  the  glorious  men  who  could  feast  and  fight ! 

Grand  Temple !  where  chieftains  and  princes  knelt 

Before  thy  high  altar,  which  richly  blazed 
With  pure,  waxen  tapers,  and  humbly  felt 

The  presence  of  God,  when  the  Host  was  raised  ! 
War  and  time,  0  majestic  Dome  ! 

Have  plunder'd  the  beauty  of  choir  and  nave  ; 
Thy  altar  stands  naked,  and  ruin  and  gloom 

Frown,  grim  at  each  other,  o'er  many  a  grave  \ 

On  column  and  tracery,  chancel  and  arch, 

Art  lavish'd  the  wealth  of  her  brain  and  hand ; 
And  the  curious  eye  for  a  fault  may  search, 

But  yet  see  none  in  thine  order  grand  ! 
How  splendid  thou  wert  in  thy  bright,  young  time  ? 

And  a  calm,  dark  splendour  is  round  thee  yet, 
Like  the  awful  stamp  of  a  soul  sublime, 

On  the  brow  of  a  saint,  when  life's  beam  is  set ! 

Thou'rt  gilt  with  the  beams  of  September  noon, 

But  I'd  give  the  best  jewel  of  Inchiquin, 
To  see  thy  gloom-glory,  when  midnight's  moon 

Thro'  yon  tall,  gray  window,  looks  dimly  in ! 
When  the  mist  spirit  sits  on  the  dreary  lea, 

And  the  bird  of  sadness  and  solitude  moans 
From  the  skeleton-branch  of  yon  ghost-like  tree 

That  stands  'mid  a  hillock  of  human  bones !  f 

When  the  weird  ivy  rustles  along  the  dim  walls, 
As  the  spectral-wind  walks  the  dismal  aisle, 

And  the  dew,  like  the  tears  of  the  banshee,  falls 
On  the  gaunt,  sere  leaves  of  the  shadowy  pile  ; 

*  Fireball  drew  his  last  breath  in  a  little  cottage,  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  the  abbey.    See  a  poem  on  his  grave,  at  page  118. 

+  A  huge  pile  of  human  bones,  the  grisly  trophies  of  the  surrounding 
graves  accumulated,  from  time  to  time,  in  one  horrid  heap  against  the  old 
abbey  wall,  disappeared  in  a  night,  but  no  person  could  tell  whether  they 
were  taken  by  the  original  proprietors,  or  others  for  some  profane  purpose. 

23 


346  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

While  the  sombre  glow  of  the  dreaming  night 
Robes  column  and  tomb,  like  white  drapery  thin, 

0  Palace  of  Death  !  what  an  awful  sight, 
In  thy  dark,  spirit-grandeur,  to  see  thee  then ! 

Ah  many  a  mournful  change  hast  thou  known — 

Change  of  races,  and  rulers,  and  creeds  ; 
Old  customs  abolish'd,  old  dynasts  o'erthrown — 

Battles,  rebellions,  and  fearful  deeds — 
And  that  skeleton-heap,  the  gray  wall  beside, 

O'er  whose  sun-bleached  fragments  the  gaunt  boughs  bend, 
Oh,  Love  and  Beauty,  Ambition  and  Pride  ! 

Rank,  Title  and  Honour  !  is  this  your  end  ? 

Denis  Moloney,  sit  here  on  this  knoll, 

The  heavens  are  clear,  and  the  meadows  are  dry  ; 

And  I'll  bring  forth  a  page  from  the  book  of  my  soul 
To  read  you  a  story  of  times  gone  by ! 

There  dwelt  a  young  maiden  in  Quin,  long  ago — 
The  bards  of  Clan  Tail  could  her  loveliness  tell — 

H  er  hair  was  like  mist  on  a  mountain  of  snow, 
And  her  eyes  were  as  clear  as  a  holy  well ! 

She  loved  young  Torlogh,  of  Ardsoillus  wild, 

But  a  wealthy  knave  proposed  for  her  hand  ; 
Not  for  the  sake  of  her  beauty  mild, 

But  her  ample  dower  and  her  father's  land. 
And  her  father,  in  anger,  before  her  stood, 

And  vow'd  that  his  daughter  for  ever  should  part 
From  the  manly  youth  of  the  generous  blood, 

To  marry  the  knave  of  the  shrunken  heart. 

She  wept  all  night,  and  she  wept  all  day, 

Lock'd  up  in  her  chamber,  and  watch'd  by  spies, 
'Till  her  cheek-flowers  paled  and  wither'd  away 

In  the  bitter  grief -tide  of  her  burning  eyes — 
But  vainly  she  wasted  her  heart's  hot  rain, 

And  vainly  her  sighs  thro'  the  long  night  rose  ; 
Her  spirit  must  wear  the  detested  chain, 

For  Torlogh's  father  and  her's  were  foes. 

The  wedding-night  came — 'twas  a  night  of  doom — 

The  wine  was  rich  and  the  mirth  was  loud  ; 
And  the  bride  came  forth  from  her  private  room, 

In  her  snowy  dress,  like  a  morning  cloud — 
In  silence  the  pitying  guests  behold 

The  beautiful  sadness  of  her  look, 
Where  her  soul  its  story  of  anguish  told, 

Like  a  dark  tale  penn'd  in  an  angel's  book. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OP  THOMOND.  347 

The  priest  was  ready — the  pair  knelt  down — 

A  low  moan  parted  the  lips  of  the  bride  ; 
Her  slight  frame  sway'd,  with  that  deep  heart-moan, 

And  out  on  the  floor  gush'd  her  life's  red  tide. 
The  craven-groom,  like  a  frighten'd  hound, 

Sprang  up  to  his  feet,  and  soon  took  the  door, 
While  guests  and  kinsmen,  gathered  around 

The  maid  that  lay  dead  on  the  gore-dyed  floor. 

Confusion  and  fright  filled  the  festive  room — 

The  bridesmaids  clamour'd  and  tore  their  hair  ; 
Strong  men  look'd  aghast,  and  the  priest  stood  dumb, 

And  her  father  gazed  round,  with  an  idiot-stare, 
Thus  heaven  punish'd  the  cold-soul'd  sire, 

For  the  victim  he  made  of  his  innocent  child  ; 
Remorse  ate  his  heart,  and  his  brain's  mad  fire 

Drove  him  out  on  the  world,  a  maniac  wild. 

Nine  nights  in  her  coffin  the  maiden  lay, 

But  Torlogh  knew  not  that  she  was  dead, 
For  his  friends  kept  the  tale  from  his  ears  away, 

They  only  told  him  that  she  was  wed ! 
'Till,  one  dusky  eve  in  the  dark -red  wood, 

When  the  moon  of  the  harvest  began  to  shine, 
He  wander'd  down  by  the  Fergus'  flood 

To  see,  in  the  meadow,  his  browsing  kine  : 

The  scene  was  calm  as  a  dream  of  love, 

And  his  eyes  were  raised  to  the  pearl-like  star 
That  glows,  'mid  the  west's  gold  and  purple  above, 

As  it  follows  the  sun  in  its  journey  far  : 
And  his  wizard  fancy  aspired  to  trace, 

In  that  gentle  planet,  with  sweet  regret, 
The  mournf al  beauty  of  Mary's  face, 

When  last  on  those  wild,  green  banks  they  met. 

The  tear  was  dimming  his  dark,  hawk-eye, 

And  the  wave  of  his  bosom  began  to  swell, 
When  he  heard  a  low  voice,  like  the  nightly  sigh 

Of  the  wind-swung  reeds  by  a  haunted  well. 
He  turned,  and  look'd  thro'  the  plain's  blue  haze, 

And  he  saw,  moving  towards  him,  with  footsteps  slow, 
A  maiden,  as  bright  as  the  spring-noon  blaze, 

When  it  suddenly  bursts  on  the  hill's  new  snow. 

'Twas  Mary — her  slow,  stately  step  he  knew-— 
As  she  pass'd  near  the  haunt  of  the  black- wing'd  raven — 

With  her  garment  as  white  as  the  frozen  dew, 
And  her  face  as  sweet  as  the  flowers  of  heaven. 


348  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

Her  brow  was  pale  as  the  cold  dawn-star, 

The  sheet  of  the  mist  lay  unstained  where  she  trod  ; 

And  she  looked  as  if,  at  the  judgment  bar, 

She  had  caught  the  sweet  glance  of  the  face  of  God, 

"Oh,  welcome,  dear  Mary  !"  the  glad  youth  said, 

Extending  his  hand,  with  a  bright 'ning  smile; 
"  I  was  told,  but  did  not  believe,  you  were  wed, 

Tho'  I  felt,  when  I  heard  it,  my  blood-springs  boil ! 
Oh,  Colleen,  darling !  I  never,  till  now, 

Saw  my  beautiful  lily  so  tenderly  bright ! 
And  the  silver  arch  of  thy  virgin  brow 

Seems  to  borrow  from  heaven  its  angel-light !" 

"I  am  not  wedded  !"  the  maiden  rejoined, 

My  heart  to  its  idol  is  still  too  true ! 
Machree !  I'd  not  give  to  the  best  of  mankind 

The  hand  and  the  word  that  I  pledged  to  you  ! 
I've  left,  for  ever,  my  father's  home, 

And  the  stream  of  our  love  shall  run  smooth  again, 
If,  to-morrow  night,  at  twelve,  you'll  come 

To  meet  me  alone,  at  the  Abbey  of  Quin  ! 

"There  our  hands  in  eternal  truth  we'll  plight, 

And  ere  the  white  star  of  the  red-dawn  hour, 
Shall  fade  in  the  morning's  increasing  light, 

We'll  be  far  away  from  the  cold  world's  power  ! 
And  we'll  go  to  a  golden  realm  of  joy, 

Where  the  sun  never  sets,  and  the  spring  never  dies- 
Where  the  tear  of  regret  and  sorrow's  dark  sigh 

Never  tainted  the  air  of  the  roseate  skiesj. 

"No  envy,  nor  pride,  nor  ambition  is  there, 

But  soul  meets  soul,  with  a  song  of  love  ! 
And  lovers,  as  free  as  the  flowers  from  care, 

Thro'  rosy  valleys  of  brightness  rove  ! 
And  the  streamlets  from  diamond-mountains  flow 

Thro'  beds  that  with  sands  of  crystal  gleam, 
And  the  winds,  on  the  gold-banks,  come  and  go, 

Like  the  heavenly  song  of  the  fairy  dream  ! 

"And  the  rich  meads  seem  in  a  rosy  trance, 

With  their  glistening  verdure  that  never  fades, 
Where  golden  honey-drops  glow  and  glance 

On  the  star-like  flowers  and  the  scented  blades ! 
And  the  blossoms  shine  on  the  sunny  trees, 

Like  pearl-cups  hung  'mid  the  bright  green  leaves  ; 
And  fields  of  lilies  play  in  the  sweet  breeze, 

Like  sheeted  foam  on  the  green  sea-waves !" 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

The  joyful  Torlogh  promised  to  go, 

And  his  glad  heart  gush'd,  like  a  festive  bowl, 
For  he  felt  a  delirious  enchantment  glow 

Thro'  his  bounding  blood  and  his  spell-wrapt  soul — 
A  dream-like  rapture  around  him  grew, 

And  his  being  seem'd  changed  into  melody  sweet, 
As  if  the  strong  power  of  the  Fairies  drew 

A  wild  web  of  magic  around  his  feet. 


349 


But  he  saw  his  beloved  one  gliding  away 

Thro'  the  pale,  yellow  twilight-mist,  like  the  gleam 
Of  the  new  Spring-moon,  at  the  close  of  day, 

Stealing  into  a  cloud,  o'er  a  waveless  stream — 
He  followed  her  down  by  the  dark-red  wood, 

But  her  form  diminish'd,  until,  at  last, 
By  a  bush-grown  curve  of  the  echoing  flood, 

Like  a  vanishing  ray,  from  his  sight  she  past. 

And  all  that  night,  and  the  next  day -noon, 

He  seem'd  to  walk  in  a  palace  of  dreams, 
'Till  the  sun  behind  Callan's  blue  summit  went  down, 

With  his  fiery  banner  of  crimson  beams. 
The  rain-clouds  gather'd  their  dull,  dusk  veil 

O'er  the  varied  hue  of  the  changing  sky, 
And  the  wind,  with  a  low,  sad,  ominous  wail, 

Came  over  the  moor,  like  a  giant's  cry. 

Night's  features  darker  and  darker  grew — 

The  blast  raved  wilder — the  hours  waned  late — 
And  Torlogh  to  meet  his  dear  Mary  flew, 

Alone  and  unseen,  from  his  father's  gate — 
The  cold  murk  shrouded  the  colder  rain, 

The  angry  squall  thro'  the  black  trees  roar'd, 
As  he  sped  thro'  the  village,  and  down  the  plain 

Where  the  Fergus  winds,  like  a  silver  chord. 

And  colder  and  darker  the  old  pile  seem'd, 

With  its  ghostly  steeple  and  crumbling  naves — 
Round  its  naked  gables  the  owlet  scream'd, 

And  the  rain-clouds  wept  o'er  its  floor  of  graves — 
But  Torlogh  felt  not  the  least  afraid 

At  the  house  of  the  dead,  or  the  blackness  it  wore, 
For  his  passionate  love  for  the  mild-faced  maid, 

Had  a  golden  root  in  his  heart's  soft  core. 

He  walk'd  'mid  the  horrid  sepulchral  gloom — 

The  blast,  'mid  the  ruins,  sung  requiems  deep, 
As  he  stepp'd  over  many  a  white-stain'd  tomb, 
Where  the  princes  and  lords  of  Clancuilen  sleep. 


,350  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  before  him  there  stood  at  the  mouldering  door, 
His  Mary,  all  lonely  and  dismally  white — 

"Welcome,"  she  whispered,  "Oh,  Bridegroom  pure  ! 
You  are  just  in  time  for  the  sacred  rite  !" 

He  gazed  on  the  maiden,  so  cold  and  tall — 

A  strange  lire  glow'd  in  her  starlike  eye, 
As  she  pensively  leaned  'gainst  the  drooping  wall, 

Like  a  banshee  tired  of  her  funeral  cry — 
He  touch 'd  her  white  garment's  airy  wave, 

But  his  hand,  at  the  touch  of  that  robe,  grew  chill, 
For  'twas  like  the  snow-fog  of  a  wintry  eve 

Lying  over  the  side  of  a  frozen  hill. 

They  entered  the  chancel — the  scene  was  changed — 

A  rich -robed  priest  at  the  altar  prayed, 
And  his  calm,  dark,  solemn  eyes  slowly  ranged 

O'er  an  open  missal  before  him  laid — 
The  altar  was  dress'd  in  its  holiest  style — 

Twelve  tall  white  candles  were  burning  there  ; 
And  a  congregation  knelt  round  the  aisle, 

With  clasped  hands  raised,  and  heads  bow'd  in  prayer. 

And  Torlogh  gazed  on  the  kneeling  crowd, 

But  people  and  priest  were  unknown  to  him  ; 
And  the  sighs  of  the  penitent  souls  grew  loud 

Thro'  the  dreary  aisle  and  the  chancel  dim. 
The  priest  from  the  throne  of  the  Host  came  down — 

To  his  bosom  he  held  the  sacred  Book — 
At  Torlogh  he  stared,  with  a  stony  frown, 

Till  his  every  nerve,  like  a  gossamer,  shook. 

He  beckon'd  the  silent  couple  to  kneel — 

They  obey'd,  and  the  ceremony  soon  began, 
But  the  young  bride's  clasp  was,  like  frigid  steel, 

Congealing  the  hand  of  the  doom'd  young  man. 
The  words  were  utter  d — the  pair  gave  consent — 

The  rite  was  completed  ; — but,  was  it  the  wind 
That  lifted  its  voice  thro'  an  ivied  rent, 

With  a  hoarse  "  Amen  !"  from  the  tombs  behin 

Poor  Torlogh,  bewilder'd,  around  him  gazed, 

And  look'd  up  to  the  roof,  but  his  wondering  eye 
Saw  no  roof,   but  the  stars,  that,  like  death-lights,  blazed 

Thro'  the  wind-torn  veil  of  the  ghastly  sky. 
The  rain-drops  splashed  on  the  tomb-stones  old — 

The  gaunt  ivy  rustled  <*ibove  his  head  ; 
And  the  hollow-toned  blast  on  his  face  blew  cold, 

As  it  whistled  its  midnight  tune  o'er  the  dead. 


LAYS   ANT>    LEOFA'DR    OF   TTT0M0ND.  oi)\ 

The  youth  gazed  close  at  his  Mary's  face, 

And  he  saw  the  grave-sweat  from  her  brow  ooze  damp  ; 
The  priest  disappear'd  from  the  altar-place, 

And  the  candles  died  out,  like  a  glow-worm's  lamp  ! 
Shuddering  and  soul-sick,  he  sought  the  door, 

The  bride's  snowy  form  moved  on  at  his  side, 
But  his  heart- veins  grew  numb  d,  and  he  sank  on  the  floor, 

And  there,  'mid  the  dust  of  the  dead,  he  died. 

Now  gray-hair'd  Denis,  you've  heard  my  rhyme, 

And  fain  would  I  stray  in  the  abbey  alone, 
Where  the  white  footprints  of  the  spirit  of  time 

Are  stamp'd  on  the  face  of  each  hoary  stone, 
Lo  !  yon  gray  tower,  with  its  bald  head  riven,* 

O'er  whose  tottering  summit  the  white  clouds  swim  ! 
I'll  spend  a  few  minutes  up  there,  in  heaven, 

At  the  risk  of  a  fall  and  a  broken  limb ! 

I'll  gaze  around  on  the  rich,  green  plains, 

That  lie,  in  the  sunlight,  from  east  to  west, 
Where  law  has  made  ruin,  and  churls  in  chains, 

Like  poor,  dull  beasts  with  dull  burdens  press M  ! 
They  adore  one  god — and  that  god  is  gold  — 

They  live  for  nought  but  their  own  base  sake, 
With  hearts  in  their  bosoms  as  timid  and  cold, 

As  perishing  frogs  in  a  wintry  lake. 

Alas  !  poor  Clare — not  the  Clare  of  yore  ! 

The  generous  spring  of  your  souls  is  dead  ! 
They  feel  no  love  for  their  ancient  lore, — 

They  know  no  pride  for  the  soil  they  tread  ! 
Peace,  with  poverty,  here  appears, 

And  the  old  abbey  shakes  its  ivy  cap, 
As  if  giving  a  sigh  for  the  golden  years 

When  blood  and  spirit  stood  in  the  gap. 

Bright  land  of  Cas,  of  the  silver  shields  ! 

Thy  arm  of  fire  was  once  strong  in  strife, 
And  every  foot  of  thy  regal  fields 

Was  bought  by  the  blood  of  some  noble  life ! 
Gone  are  the  forests  of  pines  and  oaks 

That  vestured  thy  hills  of  the  fragrant  air  ! 
And  thy  abbeys  and  towers,  with  their  leafy  cloaks, 

Tell  tales  of  the  grandeur  that  once  was  there  ! 

*  The  annalists  tell  a  fearful  story  of  the  execution  of  Donogli  na  Beg  (the 
little)  O'Brien,  at  Quin.  lie  was  brought  by  Cruise,  the  Sheriff  of  the 
county,  before  Sir  John  Perrott,  the  English  Deputy,  who  sentenced  him, 
viz.,  he  was  half-hanged  from  a  car  and  his  bones  were  smashed  with  the 
back  of  a  birge  and  heavy  axe,  and  his  body,  thus  mangled  and  half-dead, 
was  affixed,  fastened  with  ropes,  to  the  top  of  Quin  Steeple,  under  the 
talons  of  the  fowls  of  the  air?  that  the  sight  of  him  in  that  state  might  serve 
as  a  warning  to  other  rebellious  evil-doers.  His  crime  was  no  more  than 
robbing  the  English  settlers  of  Connaught. 


352  LAYS   AND   LEO  ENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

THE  BATTLE  OF  THURLES.* 

A.  ]).  ]  174. 

The  war-fires'  light 

Gleamed  red  all  night 
Along  the  mountain  gloom — 

King  Donald's  men 

Are  up  again, 
From  Luimnoch  to  Slieve  Bluim  ! 

From  glen  and  wood 

The  hone  and  blood 
Of  his  fierce  and  fearless  clan, 

In  wild  array, 

At  dawn  of  day, 
O'er  Ormond's  plains  swept  on. 

And  fiercely  blew 

The  loud  baraboo,f 
And  his  bards  their  war-hymns  sang, 

While  the  martial  breath 

Of  that  chant  of  death 
Was  timed  by  the  steely  clang 

Of  falchion  keen, 

And  glittering  skein, 
And  strong  iron-plated  shield 

Whose  blue  orb  bore 

The  red  marks  of  war, 
In  many  a  victor-iield. 

And  brightly  above 

The  tall  spear-grove 
0 lanced  the  banner  of  Minister's  kings, 

With  "  Three  lions  "  of  might, 

In  golden  light, 
Display'd  on  its  emerald  wings  ; 

And  high  in  the  van 

Of  his  desperate  clan 
Strode  the  kingly  Donald  More  ;£ 

As  strong  in  the  charge 

As  the  headlong  surge 
That  bursts  on  the  western  shore. 


*  The  battle  of  Thurles  (Durles  O'Fogarty)  in  which,  according  to  some 
annalists,  seventeen  hundred  oft  Ik;  Norman  army  fell,  was  the  first  import- 
ant encounter  that  took  place  between  the  Irish  and  their  English  inva- 
ders. The  Dalgais  of  Thomond,  commanded  by  their  irrepressible  king, 
Donald  More  O'Brien,  were  complete  victors  in  that  stern  engagement. 

t  The  baraboo  was  a  sonorous  war  trumpet  used  by  the  Irish  for  sound- 
ing the  advance  of  an  army. 

$  ''King  Donald  was  the  founder  and  endower  of  several  fine  churches  and 
abbeys,  the  principal  of  which  are  (Jorcomroe  Abbey,  Jloly-eross,  Killaloe 
Church,  and  the  grand  Cathedral  of  8t.  Mary's,  in  Limerick,  where  his  re- 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  353 

From  Waterford 

The  Norman  horde 
To  the  plains  of  Ikerrin  came, 

In  vengeful  haste, 

The  land  to  waste, 
With  sword  and  destroying  flame — 

Three  thousand  strong, 

They  march 'd  along, 
With  fierce  Stringul  at  their  head  ; 

Nor  house  nor  herd 

Their  fury  spared, 
As  on  their  foray  they  sped. 

Across  the  plain 

Is  darkly  seen 
One  flood  of  helms  and  plumes  ; 

As  sweeping  down 

The  hill-side  brown 
The  mighty  army  comes — 

But  as  the  heave 

Of  the  mad  sea-wave 
Is  barr'd  by  the  crag-pil'd  shore, 

80  that  iron-tide, 

On  Durles's  side, 
Was  stopp'd  by  King  Donald  More. 

Then,  hoarse  and  high, 

The  wild  battle-cry 
Of  the  stern  Dalcassians  peal'd, 

And  the  Normans  proud, 

With  a  shout  as  loud, 
Their  martial  defiance  yell'd  ; 

Then,  left  and  right, 

With  sweeping  might, 
The  headlong  hosts  engaged, 

And  life  ne'er  bled 

In  a  strife  so  red, 
While  that  combat  of  bloodhounds  raged. 

mains  repose.  Ho  was  sixth  in  descent  from  the  great  King  Brian,  and  in- 
herited the  proud  blood  and  magnanimous  spirit  of  his  illustrious  ancestor. 
He  was  for  twenty-six  years  constantly  in  arms  against  the  English  power, 
which  he  repeatedly  drove,  with  loss,  from  the  borders  oi  his  principality. 
His  Queen  was  Urlacam,  daughter  of  MacMorrough,  King  of  Leinster  ;  by 
her  he  had  nine  sons  and  two  daughters,  Mary  and  Caithlin.  He  burned 
the  city  of  Limerick  twice,  in  order  to  prevent  the  English  adventurers 
from  establishing  themselves  there.  He  died  in  his  palace  at  Limerick,  in 
1194,  in  the  32nd  year  of  his  reign,  and  the  78th  of  his  age. 

"  He  fought  another  battle  at  Thurles  twenty  years  after  his  first  victory 
at  that  place,  for  he  attacked  and  routed  the  Normans,  near  Killaloe,  and 
pursued  them  to  Thurles,  where  he  encountered  the  main  body  of  their 
army,  which  he  triumphantly  defeated,  with  great  loss,  after  a  stubborn,  and 
stern  resistance." — Annals  of  Thomoncl. 


354  LAYS  AND   LE0EXD3   OF  TTTOMOXD 

But  the  javelins'  rain 

Was  launch '(I  in  vain 
Against  the  strong  Norman  mail  ; 

With  a  quivering  bound 

They  fell  to  the  ground, 
From  the  ri vetted  plates  of  steel, 

While  the  Dalcas'  breasts 

Thro'  their  saffron  vests, 
Were  plough 'd  by  the  Norman  brands, 

Till,  as  steel  rives  stone, 

A  red  pass  was  hewn 
Thro'  the  heart  of  the  riven  bands. 


Yet  those  brave,  stern  men 

Their  ranks  closed  in, 
And  the  desperate  odds  withstood, 

Tho'  the  plain  around, 

Where  they  held  their  ground, 
Was  fat  with  their  valiant  blood; 

Lance  clang'd  on  lance, 

In  a  flashing  dance, 
And  the  crash  of  the  mighty  strokes 

Roll'd  on,  like  the  swell 

Of  the  thunder's  knell, 
When  it  peals  thro'  a  wood  of  oaks. 


Then  King  "Donald  More,* 

High  towering  o'er 
The  surge  of  the  stormy  fray — 

Like  a  giant-rock, 

'Mid  the  whirl  and  shock 
Of  a  tempest-madden'd  sea — 

O'er  the  reeking  wreck, 

And  the  wild  attack, 
The  death-shriek  and  wrathful  yell, 

His  voice  pcal'd  out, 

Like  a  war-god's  shout, 
Or  the  clang  of  a  mighty  bell  : — 

"Your  javelins  fail 
To  pierce  their  mail, 
Tho'  with  vigour  and  swiftness  thrown  ! 

*  "  King  Donald  More  tarnished  his  edory  by  tho  barbarous  act  of  putting 
out  the  eyes  of  his  two  nephews,  at  Oasllc  Connoll,  to  disqualify  them  from 
their  claims  on  the  chieftaincy.  When  Roderick  O'Connor,  monarch  of 
Ireland,  heard  of  this,  lie  advanced  to  chastise  the  Prince  of  Thomond  for 
his  cruelty,  but  on  his  return  home  he  was  obliged  to  commit  the  same 
barbarity  on  his  own  son,  who,  in  his  absence,  had  taken  arms  to  usurp  his 
throne  and  overthrow  his  government."-  Annul*  «/'  Thomond. 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  355 

But,  if  you  would  smite 

Their  iron  might, 
Tis  your  axes  must  hew  them  down ! 

Dismiss  the  brands 

From  your  valiant  hands, 
And  strike  with  your  axes  keen, 

As  your  sires,  on  the  day 

Of  Clontarf's  red  fray, 
Smote  the  bands  of  the  robber  Dane  !" 


The  spear  and  sword, 

At  the  leader's  word, 
Are  flung  from  each  warrior's  hand  ; 

Skeins  lie  in  the  sheath, 

And  the  hatchets  of  deatli 
Are  grasp'd  by  the  Dalcas  band. 

Then,  as  crags  hurl'd  down 

From  the  hill's  blue  crown, 
On  the  woods  of  the  sounding  vale, 

They  leapt,  like  the  slash 

Of  a  cascade's  dash, 
On  the  phalanx  of  Norman  steel. 

Burst  the  helms  in  two, 

And  the  breastplates  flew 
Into  fragments,  like  stricken  fire  ; 

And  down,  with  the  crash 

Of  a  falling  ash, 
Roll'd  each  chief  in  the  reeking  mire  ; 

And  broad  and  red, 

In  breast  and  head, 
Did  the  battle-axe  leave  its  mark, 

Like  the  yawning  dint, 

Where  a  rock  hath  rent 
The  hull  of  a  founder 'd  bark. 


In  vain !  in  vain  ! 

With  rowel  and  rein, 
Did  the  horsemen  fling  their  steeds 

Thro'  the  deadly  crush, 

As  wild  beasts  rush 
Thro'  a  morass  of  quivering  reeds  ; 

For,  as  reapers  hew 

A  wide  passage  thro' 
A  thick  mass  of  redundant  corn, 

With  a  hollow  sound, 

To  the  reeling  ground, 
MailM  riders  and  steeds  are  borne. 


356  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF   THOMOND. 

And  fiercely  peal'd, 

O'er  the  ringing  field, 
u Lamli  Laklir  Inochta  /"  wild,* 

As  gallowglass  stern, 

And  stalwart  kern, 
At  the  harvest  of  carnage  toil'd ! 

And  dread  Donald  More, 

'Mid  a  wave  of  gore, 
His  men  to  their  grim  work  cheer  VI, 

Like  a  lion's  roar, 

On  a  stormy  shore, 
O'er  the  sound  of  the  breakers  heard. 

With  madden'd  speed 

Steed  plunged  on  steed, 
And  rank  was  flung  back  on  rank, 

'Midst  a  cloud  of  blood, 

As  a  wintry  flood 
Sweeps  in  thro'  a  broken  bank. 

Steel  blazed  in  air, 

Like  the  fiery  glare 
Of  the  meteor-flames  of  death, 

That  flash  their  rays 

Thro'  the  midnight  haze, 
As  they  shoot  o'er  the  blasted  heath. 

And,  scatter VI,  back 

On  their  red  war- track, 
The  Norman  forayers  fled, 

Leaving  behind 

The  wide  field  lined 
With  the  wreck  of  their  army  dead — 

The  flower  and  boast 

Of  their  valorous  host 
Lay  there  on  the  purple  plain — 

Great  champions  of  swords, 

Brave  knights  and  lords, 
With  the  common  soldiery  slain. 

Here,  in  armour  bright, 

Lay  a  stalwart  knight, 
With  his  head  half  sever'd  away  ; 

And  another  lay  there, 

With  his  dead  eyes'  glare 
Turn'd  up  to  the  orb  of  day — 

And  others  lay  dead, 

AVith  the  blood-gouts  red 
Oozing  freshly  from  trunk  and  limb, 

*  The  war-cry  of  O'Brien's  clan,  i.  e.,  "  The  strong  hand  uppermost ! 


LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND.  357 

With  the  angry  scowl 
Of  the  parting  soul 
On  their  features,  rigid  and  grim. 

And  the  brave  war-horse, 

Of  spirit  and  force, 
Lay  there,  like  a  fallen  tower, 

With  a  deep  wound  sank 

In  his  gaping  flank, 
Deprived  of  his  pride  and  power. 

And,  face  to  face, 

In  a  death-embrace — 
►Strctch'd  stiff  on  the  batter'd  clay, 

Where  the  grappling  throng 

Of  the  fight  surged  strong — 
Dalcassian  and  Norman  lay. 

Throughout  the  land 

The  tidings  grand 
Of  King  Donald's  victory  ran — 

The  first  death-blow 

Is  given  the  foe, 
And  liberty's  fight  is  began — 

Proud  Strongbow  is  gone 

To  Waterford  town, 
But  blood  is  before  him  there, 

For  the  citizens  rose 

'Gainst  their  garrison' d  foes, 
And  slaughtered  them  in  their  lair. 

There's  revelry  high, 

And  boisterous  joy, 
From  Cashel  to  Shannon's  shore, 

And  Luimnoch  waits 

To  open  her  gates 
For  her  conquering  Donald  More  ! 

Bright  wreaths  and  flowers 

Hang  from  the  towers, 
To  adorn  the  chieftain's  way  ; 

And  the  bards  proclaim 

His  immortal  fame, 
In  many  a  glorious  lay. 

Stars  of  the  Gael  ! 

O'Connor  !  O'Neill  ! 
O'Rourke  of  the  wrathful  hand  ! 

Come  forth,  and  join 

The  royal  O'Brien, 
In  sweeping  the  pest  from  your  land  ! 


358  LAY.S  AND   LEGENDS   OF   THOMOND. 

O'Donnell !  Magiiire  ! 

Proud  souls  of  fire  ! 
MacCarthy !  0' Sullivan  Beare  ! 

Arise  ! — and  unite 

For  your  princely  right, 
And  fling  your  base  feuds  to  the  air  ! 

High  princes  and  lords 
Of  the  cleaving  swords ! 

In  your  hands  is  your  country's  fate — 
Unite  ! — 0  unite 
Your  divided  might ! 

And  strike,  ere  it  be  too  late ! 
Ere  your  land's  despoil'd, 
And  your  homes  defiled, 

By  those  war-hawks  of  plunder  and  prey ! 
Arise,  and  join 
With  the  bravo  O'Brien, 

And  hurl  them  into  the  sea  ! 


THE  BRIDE  OF  THE  SUIR. 

A   KAJRY  LKGKNI)  OF  OAIIIK. 

Stern  Donald,  the  son  of  proud  Callaghan  More, 
Has  gone  for  his  bride  to  the  banks  of  the  Suir, 
For  he  promised,  ere  Christmas  had  lighted  its  flame, 
To  bring  to  his  mansion  the  silken-haired  dame — 
And  his  tall  gallowglasses,  with  javelin  and  skein, 
Like  the  wolf-hounds  of  Galtee,  around  him  are  seen  ; 
And  they  rode  with  the  rings  of  their  long,  yellow  hair, 
Like  the  cloudlets  of  sunset,  afloat  on  the  air. 

'Twas  December — the  frost  in  the  valley  was  gray, 
And  the  wind-borne  snow-drift  descended  all  (lay, 
And  those  silvery  fragments  of  winter's  costume, 
In  white  splendour,  glistened  on  mantle  and  plume, 
While  headlong,  as  torrents,  o'er  moorlands  and  meads, 
Dash'd  those  eagle-eyed  men  on  their  lire-blooded  steeds, 
'Till  the  gloaming  beheld  them,  ;is  gather' d  the  night, 
Sweeping  down  by  the  river,  like  ghosts  all  in  white. 

There  was  silence  around — scarce  the  horse-hoofs  were  heard 

To  awaken  a  sound  from  the  snow-covered  sward  ; 

And  the  river  look'd  black  as  an  ebony  vein, 

Stretch'd  along  the  wide  breast  of  the  white-niuflled  plain — 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  TIIOMOXD.  359 

Hoar  and  huge  in  the  distance,  the  Gal  tees  look'cl  down, 
With  the  snow-angel  dimly  enthroned  on  their  crown, 
And  the  pine-shafts,  like  pillars,  seem'd  lightly  to  bear 
Pearl  palaces  built  by  the  Genii  of  air. 

The  moon's  horn  peer'd  thro'  the  cloud's  broken  ring, 

Like  a  silver  bow  under  the  cloak  of  a  king, 

While  a  star,  at  intervals,  reveal'd  its  red  eye, 

Here  and  there,  thro'  the  mist-piles  that  floated  on  high. 

The  polar  wind  breathed  its  night-vesper  low, 

As  if  whispering  a  story  of  God  to  the  snow, 

And  telling  the  pure  thing  of  heaven,  in  its  song, 

That  its  radiant  sojourn  on  earth  was  not  long. 

"Ten  miles  hence!"  said  Donald,  "  our  journey  will  soon 

Be  done,  in  an  hour,  by  the  light  of  the  moon! 

My  Mora  is  waiting — your  fare  shall  be  good — 

And  I'll  give  you  red  wine  till  you  swim  in  its  flood !" 

Spur  and  whip  are  applied  to  the  flank  of  each  steed, 

And  the  flight  of  a  meteor  was  slow  to  their  speed  ; 

Their  air-lifted  cloaks,  in  their  swiftness,  seem'd  riven, 

And  their  toss'd  plumes  shook  oil' the  hoar  spangles  of  heaven. 

They  rode  by  the  base  of  a  gray,  olden  cairn, 

Like  a  naked  ghost,  rising  'mid  broom-bush  and  fern  ; 

The  owl,  with  her  spirit-voiced  wailing,  was  there, 

And  the  curlew's  lone  note  sounded  shrill  thro'  the  air ; 

When,  lo  !  by  the  sheen  of  the  dim  lunar-beam, 

Right  against  the  small  phalanx  a  cavalcade  came, 

And  Donald  commanded  his  resolute  men 

To  poise  their  long  spears,  and  their  coursers  rein  in ! 

The  pageantry  moved  on,  majestic  and  slow, 

But  the  hoofs  of  the  steeds  left  no  marks  on  the  snow  : — 

It  first,  like  a  rolling  mist,  seem'd  to  appear, 

'Till  it  grew  more  distinct  as  the  horsemen  drew  near  ; 

But  their  figures  were  strange,  and  their  faces  were  pale, 

And  they  wore  not  the  "  colon  "  nor  garb  of  the  Gael, 

For  a  gloom  hung  around  cavalier  and  mail'd  knight, 

And  their  cloudy  plumes  darkenM  their  harness  of  light. 

But  their  regal-eyed  leader,  who  rode  in  the  van, 

Scarcely  bore  the  terrestrial  resemblance  of  man, 

For  the  light  of  a  strange  sphere  around  him  seem'd  thrown, 

And  his  brow  with  the  glow  of  the  Beautiful  shone  ; 

And  his  locks  o'er  his  neck  in  an  amber  wave  roll'd, 

Like  cloud-curls  steep'd  in  the  sun's  aerial  gold, 

When  the  spirit  of  light,  at  the  calm  evening  hour, 

Is  bendinir  in  heaven  God's  bow  of  the  shower. 


360  LAYS  AND  LEGENDS  OF  THOMOND. 

And  close,  at  his  saddle-end,  seated  behind, 
"With  her  white  bridal-robe  flowing  loose  on  the  wind, 
Was  Mora,  the  chosen  of  Donald  the  proud,  ? 

With  her  head  on  the  throne  of  her  snow-bosom  bow  d. 
The  jealous  chief  look'd  at  the  bride  of  his  heart, 
With  the  glare  of  an  eagle,  when  pierced  by  a  dart, 
And  he  sprang,  with  a  passion-curse  hot  on  his  lip, 
On  her  captor,  as  dashes  a  wave  on  a  ship. 

One  lunge  of  his  javelin  thro'  corselet  and  vest, 
And  the  spear's  azure  point  disappeared  in  his  breast ; 
But  the  stranger,  unmoved,  sat  erect  as  a  reed, 
While  the  lady  fell  down,  in  a  swoon,  from  the  steed. 
Donald  drew  back  the  lance  without  blood  on  its  steel, 
As  if  it  had  pass'd  thro'  the  night-fog's  cold  veil, 
And  the  weird  group  ascended  above  the  white  plain, 
Like  a  shadowy  column  of  mist  after  rain. 

Dim  and  slowly  they  rose,  in  the  moon's  dusky  eye, 

'Till  they  mixed  with  the  haze-banks  that  lined  the  gray  sky, 

While  the  mute  band,  with  looks  on  the  firmament  cast, 

Saw  them  soar,  'till  the  night-clouds  received  them  at  last ! 

Fair  Mora  lay  stretched,  in  her  weird  trance,  below, 

With  her  locks'  yellow  rings  scattcr'd  out  on  the  snow, 

'Till  Donald  uplifted  her  slight  lily-form 

On  his  brave  steed,  and  rested  her  head  on  his  arm. 

"  Away  !"  cried  the  chief,   "  give  your  coursers  the  rem  !" 
And  away,  like  wing'd  demons,  they  sped  o'er  the  plain, 
And  their  steeds  never  slacken'd  the  nerves  of  their  fire, 

Till  they  came  to  the  tall  castle-gate  of  her  sire— 
The  horn  is  winded — the  barrier's  unbarred — 
And  the  horsemen  dash'd  in  thro'  the  wide  castle-yard, 
But  their  ears  were  assail'd  from  the  chambers  within, 
By  the  harp's  song  of  grief  and  the  thrilling  death-keen. 

And  the  candles  of  death  burn'd  dim  by  a  pall, 
Where  Mora's  white  corpse  was  laid  out  in  the  hall, 
And  her  maiden-companions  wept  over  her  there, 
While  her  sire  sat  beside  her  in  silent  despair. 
Green  wreaths  from  the  wood  were  festooning  the  bed, 
Round  the  placid  snow-brow  of  the  beautiful  dead, 
And  the  keeners,  with  melody  plaintive  and  wild, 
Rehearsed  all  the  virtues  of  Cormac's  fair  child.* 

*  Tn  sinking  the  caoino  (keen),  the  personal  endowments  and  virtues  of 
the  departed  formed  the  general  subject  of  the  death-song. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  TITOMOND.  3GI 

That  evening,  the  Fairies  the  bright  maiden  won, 
And  were  bearing  her  oft' to  the  Hill  of  the  Sun,* 
But  they  left  in  her  stead  a  fair  semblance  behind, 
That  looked  like  her  corpse  to  the  eye  and  the  mind. 
Then  her  brave  lover  met  them,  slow  wending  their  way, 
By  the  old  haunted  cairn,  so  gloomy  and  gray, 
And  he  conquer'd  her  captors,  and  broke  the  dark  spell 
That  lay  on  her  spirit,  like  ice  on  a  well. 

And  the  night-hag  seem'd  casting  her  shade  on  the  floor 
When  Donald,  the  fearless,  appear'd  at  the  door, 
Bearing  up,  like  a  seraph  asleep,  in  his  arms, 
His  innocent  bride,  in  the  glow  of  her  charms  : 
The  corpse,  from  the  mourners'  sight,  vanish'd  in  air, 
And  the  wail  of  the  keeners  died  into  a  prayer — 
Morning  'rose,  like  a  vision,  o'er  valley  and  moor, 
And  the  happiest  of  brides  was  the  bride  of  the  Suir. 


THE  BATTLE  OF   MAORESRTAN,   ANT)  MURDER  OF 
BRIAN  ROE  AT  BUNRATTY.f 

Nine  years  were  past  since  Brian  Roe  was  hurl'd  from  Tho- 

mond's  throne, 
And  proud  De  Clare  had  finish'd  well  his  towers  of  massive 

stone  ;% 
And  to  fulfil  his  promise,  made  to  Brian,  in  his  need, 
He  call'd  a  council  of  his  friends  to  know  how  they'd  proceed. 

Then  Brian  Roe  proposed  to  march,  at  midnight's  favouring 

hour, 
To  high  Clonroad,  and  there  surprise  the  rival  of  his  power  ;§ 

*  The  Hill  of  the  Sun,  Knoc  Greine,  in  the  county  Limerick. 

It  was  supposed  to  be  governed  hy  the  Fairy  Queen,  Mave,  who  ruled  a 
select  order  of  her  own  lovely  sex  there.  Every  beautiful  woman  who  died 
young  was  carried  away  to  this  hill,  by  fairy  enchantment,  according  to  the 
belief  of  the  simple-minded  peasantry.  Whatever  way  their  mythology  may 
err,  it  was  certainly  an  innocent  and  beautiful  one,  for  none  but  an  inno- 
cent and  virtuous  people  could  conceive  or  believe  that  such  charming 
spiritual  accommodation  was  so  near  them.  At  least  there  is  something 
more  interesting  and  harmless  about  it  than  in  the  scheming  sophistry  of 
spirit-rapping,  and  the  wily,  material  science  which  some  employ  to  delude 
others. 

t  The  incidents  illustrated  in  the  text  are  strictly  historical.  See  page 
283  for  full  particulars. 

X  The  Castle  of  Bunratty  was  for  nine  years  in  course  of  building.  It 
was  the  theatre  of  war  for  150  years. 

$  Here  is  a  sad  picture  of  Irish  domestic  disaffection  :  uncle  and  nephew 
in  deadly  opposition  for  royal  ascendency. 

24 


3G2  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND. 

"For,"  said  the  Chief,   "'twere  better  slay  the  war- wolf  in 

his  den, 
Than  give  him  time  and  chance  to  try  the  bloody  chase  again! 

"  But,  if  we  meet  him  in  the  field,  and  in  the  open  day, 
The  furious  monster  and  his  pack  may  give  us  dangerous  play; 
And  so  I  deem  the  surest  plan,  and  best  provision  laid, 
Is  to  attack  him  ere  his  friends  can  rally  to  his  aid ! 

"  By  firm  resolve  and  strategy  great  objects  are  attain'd, 
Tho'  oft  the  cross  is  sorely  borne  before  the  crown  is  gained  ; 
And  if  with  my  suggestions  here  your  council  has  agreed, 
The  blossom  of  our  high  design  to  ripe  fruit  shall  succeed  !" 

Then  all  concluded,  with  one  voice,   that  Brian's  plan  was 

wise, 
And   off  to  high  Clonroad  they  march'd,    brave  Torlogh*  to 

surprise. 
It  was  a  cloudy  April  night,  the  wind,  with  solemn  croon, 
Seem'd  in  the  dark  halls  of  the  woods  to  hum  a  funeral  tune. 

Down  on  the  palace  of  the  prince  the  swift  invaders  burst, 
And  soon  were  its  retainers  all  laid  grovelling  in  the  dust  ; 
Then    Brian,    the  usurper,     seized    on  sceptre,     crown     and 

throne  — 
A  prize  obtain'd  by  fraud  and  force,  not  long  to  be  his  own. 

The  eagle's  nest  was  captured,  but  the  royal  bird  escaped, 
And  ofl'  to  (Vmnaught's  friendly  land   his  angry  course   he 

shaped, 
And  there  he  vow'd  a  fearful  vow  that,  come,  God  wot,  what 

may, 
He'd  make  those  Norman  hell-hounds  feel  his  lash  another 

day! 

Swift  heralds,  round  about  the  land,  to  all  his  friends  he  sent, 
And  quickly  to  the  chieftain's  aid  a  mighty  hosting  went; 
O'Maddens  and  O'Madigans,  O'Kellys,  stern  and  stout, 
And  fierce  I)e  Burgos,  with  the  Prince,  to  Thomond  took  their 
route. 

There  were  their  strong  battalions  joined  by  many  a   warlike 

man, — - 
MacMahon,   from  the  wild  west,  with  his  Corcovaskin  clan, 
And  the  powerful  MacXamaras,  with  ( 'lancuilen's  valiant  men, 
And  proud  O'Loghlin,  brave  OJ)ea,  O'Jlehir,  and  O'Quin. 

*This  prinoo,  r;illc<l  by  tho  annalists  "Torlogh  the  Warlike,"  was  the 
founder  of  the  town  of  Knnis. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOND.  363 

The  spies  and  scouts  of  false  De  Clare,  and  ill-starr'd  Brian 

Roe, 
Brought  tidings  of  the  muster  and  the  movements  of  the  foe  ; 
And  soon  to  barrier  his  advance  the  active  chiefs  found  way, 
For  Norman  bands  and  Irish  clans  were  gather'd  for  the  fray. 

With  drum  and  pipe   and  cymbal's  clash   the  fiery  legions 

wound 
To  green  Magressian*  where,   in  strength,  they  chose  their 

battle-ground  : 
Nor  were  their  arms  kept  idle  long,  for,  with  tempestuous 

cheers, 
On  came  fierce  Torlogh's  wrathful  host — a  blazing  surge  of 

spears. 

As  on  a  grove  of  mountain-fir  a  thunder-tempest  leaps, 

And  flings  the  lightning-stricken  trees  to   earth,    in  blasted 

heaps, 
So  soon  the  war's  devouring  wrath,  with  mad  uproarious  din, 
Commenced  to  heap  the  batter1  d  plain  with  piles  of  bleeding 

men. 

Great  feats  of  vigour,  strength,  and  skill,  on  every  side  were 

done, 
And  many  a  brave  soul  pass'd  away  before  the  day  was  won  ; 
The  Norman  troops  contested  stern  the  warfield,  foot  by  foot, 
Till,  mown  in  heaps,  like  harvest  grass,  their  bleeding  ranks 

were  cut. 

And  sorely  were  their  Irish  aids,  the  clans  of  rich  Hy-mbloid,f 
By  lance  and  sword,    and  grinding  axe,  in  reeking  carnage 

mowed ; 
And  Brian  Roe,  and  fierce  De  Clare,  like  hounded  boars,  were 

chased 
To  high  Bunratty's  iron-halls,  in  fear  and  headlong  haste. 

Few  were  their  followers  from  the  field,  for  few  survived  to  say 

What  perils,  toils,  and  grim  events,  had  mark'd  the  awful 
day  ; 

Like  ghosts  around  a  murderer's  tomb,  the  gloomy  chiefs  sat 
down, 

With  blood-dyed  hand,  and  burning  cheek,  red  eye,  and  wrath- 
ful frown. 

The  banquet-board  before  them  stood,  with  wine  and   rich 

repast, 
But  little  cared  the  anxious  chiefs  to  break  their  weary  fast, 

*  Now  called  Moyrisk,  once  the  estate  of  the  hospitable  "  Fireball." 

+  The  clans  of  Eastern  Thomond  who  were,  in  conjunction  with  the  De 

Clares,  opposed  to  the  rule  of  the  senior  branch  of  the  O'lirienb. — (See  note, 

page  228.) 


364  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  THOMOKD. 

For,  from  their  trouble-darken'd  hearts  the  light  of  hope  was 

fled, 
And    red-faced  shame  and  black  defeat   sat  heavy  on  each 

head — 

While  thro'  the  sounding  Castle-rooms  the  bitter  wail  ascends 
Of  those  who  in  that  fearful  fight  had  lost  their  bosom-friends  ; 
And  even  in  the  iron  eyes  of  spearman,  scout,  and  chief, 
Like  oozing  springs  from  flinty  cliffs,  appear'd    the  drops  of 
grief. 

Uprose  imperious  Juliana*,  De  Clare's  majestic  bride, 

From  her  white  brow  the  tier  of  gems  she  pluck 'd  and  dash'd 

aside  ; 
Close  by  her  sire,  Fitzgerald  bold,  the  beauteous  Fury  stood, 
While  o'er  her  angry  features  swept  a  crimson  surge  of  blood. 

Her  hot  glance,  like  a  poison'd  spear,  at  Brian  Roe  was  cast, 
While  from  her  large,  blue,  shining  eyes  the  melting  drops 

roll'd  fast : 
That  day  her  lordly  brother  in  the  throng  of  battle  fell, 
And  frantic  was  the  lady's  grief  for  him  she  loved  so  well. 

"  Listen  to  me,  my  noble  sire  !  and  you,  my  Lord  De  Clare! 

Great  evils  have  we  suffer'd  thro'  this  Irish  caitiff  here  ; 

He  gave  us,  in   an  hour   accurst,   those  broad,  surrounding 

lands, 
On  which,  raised  up  by  ample  cost,  our  stately  Castle  stands ! 

"  He  lured  us  to  accept  the  grant  of  this  disastrous  soil 
Where,  since  we  came,  our  lives  have  been  in  constant  war 

and  broil ! 
He  made  us  dupes  to  work  his  curst  ambition's  bloody  aim, 
Till  his  base  schemes  involved  our  house  in  dire  defeat  and 

shame  ! 

"See  now  what  tenfold  misery  and  mischief  have  been  spread, 

Thro'  his  fell  means  our  bravest  kin  in  fruitless  war  has  bled ! 
For  those  misfortunes,  'tis  but  just  that  we  demand  his  life, 
Else  never  more  shall  proud  De  Clare  address  me  as  his  wife !" 

Out  spoke  her  dark  sire,  in  reply  :  "  Thy  words,  my  daughter, 

show 
That  in  a  trusted  friend's  disguise  we  had  a  wicked  foe ! 
On  his  account  our  stoutest  hearts  in  woeful  strife  have  bled, 
Then  shall  his  life,  in  justice,  pay  for  all  the  blood  that's  shed ! 

*  (See  rote,  page  285.)-"  Her  husband,  Do  Clare,  ruled  the  Castle,  hut  she 
ruled  him,  and  often  acted  as  "  Chairman"  of  the  several  war  councils  held 
in  that  mighty  fortress.  She  also  acted  as  "  Judge  of  Assize,"  and  sentenced 
many  to  a  jx-rpcndicular  death,  like  Lord  Norbury.  Her  brother,  Fitz- 
maurice  Fitzgerald,  fell  at  the  battle  of  M  agression,  which  aroused  her  anger 
against  Brian  'Roe."— Traditions  and  Annals  of  Thomond. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF   THOMOND.  365 

"Ho  !  faithful  guardsmen,  seize  the  wretch,  and  bind  him  fast 

and  strong 
To  four  wild   steeds — secure  his  limbs  with  many  a  trusty 

thong — 
And  lash  them  fiercely  with  your  whips,  till  they,  in  fragments, 

tear 
This  pest  and  scandal  of  the  house  and  race   of  proud   De 

Clare  !" 

Then,  pale  with  fury,   from  the  board  bold  Brian  Roe  leap'd 

up— 
He  spilt   the  wine,  and  on    the  ground  he  dash'd  the  silver 

cup — 
His  back  he  placed  against  the  wall,  and  drew  his  sweeping 

blade — 
"Let  those  who  certain  death  despise,  approach  me  now!"  he 

said. 

"De  Clare,  is  this   the  base  reward  your  treachery  would 

bestow  ? 
Is  this  your  hollow  friendship's  boon  conferral  on  Brian  Roe  ? 
And  have  I  lived  to  curse  the  day,  and  doubly  curse  the  deed, 
That  poison'd  Thomond's  hallow'd   soil  with  your  detested 

seed? 

"Have  you  not  sworn,   within  yon  fane,  before  the  Eternal 

King, 
By  all  the  consecrated  bells  that  at  the  altar  ring  ! 
And  by  the  sacred  book  of  truth  that  holds  God's  awful  word! 
And  by  the  relics  of  His  saints,  so  holy  and  revered  ! 

"That  you  would  always  be  to  me  a  friend,  unchanged  and 

true? 
While  by  those  sacred  things  I  swore  to  be  the  same  to  you ! 
Nay,  more,  we  shared  the  Holy  Host  between  us,  as  a  bond* 
To  link  our  hearts  in  union  strong,  and,  in  affection,  fond  ! 

"We  drew  the  hot  blood  from  our  veins  and  mingled  it,  like 

wine, 
To  be  of  our  united  faith  the  symbol  and  the  sign ! 
And,  further  to  cement  our  love,  your  gossip  I  became — 
A  false  connexion,  doomed  to  end  in  violence  and  shame  ! 

"  For  now,    when  fortune  flings  me  down  from  my  paternal 

throne, 
And  adverse  fate  has  turn'd  its  scourge  on  me,  and  me  alone, 
I  find  you  black  with  perjury,  and  treach'rous  as  the  fiend 
That,  with  soft  whispers,  lures  the  soul  to  tortures  without 

end ! 

*  They  divided  ;  the  Holy  Eucharist  between  them  at  the  altar  in  order 
to  consolidate  their  friendship. 


366  LAYS  AND   LEGENDS  OF  TIIOMOND. 

*  *  I  granted  you  those  large  domains,  I  shared  with  you  my 

gold, 
To  build  those  mighty  granite  towers,  a  murderous  sway  to 

hold  ! 
And  here  you  sentence  me  to  death  ! — perfidious  hell-hounds !  I, 
Who  brought  you  here,  and  housed  you  well — you  doom  me 

now  to  die  ! 

But,    by  the  God  whose  patience  spares  the  perjured  and 

unjust ! 
Whoe'er  attempts  to  do  me  harm,  his  blood  shall  wet  the  dust ! 
Unbar  your  gates — your  draw-bridge  lower — and  let  me  go  in 

peace  ! 
I'd  rather  herd  with  mountain- wolves  than  trust  your  cursed 

race!" 

As  furious,  yelling  hounds  assail  a  gaunt  wolf  in  his  den, 
So  was  the  fated  chief  attack'd  by  twenty  ruthless  men — 
Three  felt  his  falchion's  deadly  weight,  till,  with  a  crashing 

fall, 
They  brought  him  down,  and  bore  him,  bound  and  bleeding, 

from  the  hall. 

To  four  strong  horses,  in  the  yard,  the  wounded  chief  they 

tied 
With  ox-hide  thongs  and  hempen  cords,   and  then  the  whips 

they  plied ! 
Impetuous,  from  the  smarting  strokes,  the  coursers  plunged 

and  rear'd, 
While  thro'  the  place  the  crackling  of  the  victim's  limbs  was 

heard. 

From  their  strong  joints  the  solid  bones  were  sunder'd,  red 

and  bare — 
Each  courser,  with  a  desperate  spring,  tore  off  a  bleeding  share ; 
Still  clinging  to  their  bloody  Hanks  the  horrid  fragments  hung, 
And  round  their  legs,  like  painted  roi^es,  the  trailing  entrails 

swung. 

Then  deep  beneath  the  donjon  tower,  into  a  cavern  vast, 
The  grooms  and  serfs,  with  reeking  hands,  the  gory  remnants 

cast; 
Such  was  the  doom  and  stern  reward  of  royal  Brian  Roe, 
Who  introduced  to  Thomond's  soil  the  treacherous  Norman 

foe. 


LAYS  AND   LEGENDS   OF  TIIOMOND.  367 

THE  CHIEFS  OF  LAMH  LAIDIR. 

RESPECTFULLY  INSCRIBED  TO  THE  RIGHT  HON.  LORD  INCIIIQUIN. 

On  Song's  eagle  pinion,  my  spirit  is  summou'd 
To  the  vapour-veil'd  hills  and  brown  mountains  of  Thomond ! 
And  I  sit  where  the  thunder-split  summits